Colombia’s foreign ministry wants the United Nations’ human rights office to stop talking about an armed conflict, but use the term “complex situation” instead, according to newspaper El Espectador.
The newspaper reported Sunday that it had received a draft copy of the foreign ministry’s proposal to change the mandate of the UN’s human rights office in the country.
Among the requests are a few that could have serious repercussions for the country with one of the worst human rights records in the world.
One of the foreign ministry’s requests is that the UN refrains from using the term “internal armed conflict,” calling the country’s armed conflict “Colombia’s complex situation” instead, according to El Espectador.
According to international humanitarian law, Colombia currently has five armed conflicts, the International Committee of the Red Cross pointed out several times this year.
The president’s far-right Democratic Center (CD) party, however, denies there ever was an armed conflict.
Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo now wants the UN human rights office to do the same and effectively deny international humanitarian law.
Another controversial point on Trujillo’s wish list is that the minister wants the government to decide who is appointed by the UN to monitor the country’s historically abysmal human rights situation.
Specifically, the government wants the prerogative to turn down potential UN human rights chiefs without having to explain why, according to El Espectador.
The government controversial wish list is the latest of a series of incidents that have increased tensions between the Duque administration and the international community, in particular the United Nations and the European Union.
During a recent high-profile visit of six United Nations agencies, Trujillo refused to meet the foreign officials and, against protocol, sent one of his subordinates instead.
Foreign ambassadors recently expressed both amusement and concern after the foreign ministry sent them a letter in which they were told that they were not allowed to visit FARC reintegration without prior consultation and in the company of an administration official.
The government downplayed the attempt to restrict foreign diplomats’ fundamental right to the freedom of movement a “matter of logistics.”
Diplomats ‘concerned and amused’ by Colombia’s attempts to restrict access to FARC reintegration camps
The government’s reported expectations that the UN’s human rights office denies international humanitarian law and its belief the government can restrict the freedom of movement of ambassadors is creating an awkward situation at best.
Unless solved diplomatically, the government’s apparent ignorance or belief it is above international humanitarian law could have serious repercussions.