Ireland has committed $280,000 the United Nations to aid poor regions in Colombia where human rights have been affected by the armed conflict, according to El Colombiano newspaper.
The announcement was made by Sonja Hyland, the Irish ambassador to Colombia, and Todd Howland, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Hyland emphasized that the support for human rights is fundamental to Irish foreign policy, highlighting that its own experience with internal armed struggles have created a “strong commitment” in aiding other nations seeking peace.
“The peace process in Colombia resonates in Ireland due to our decades of experience,” Hyland said, referencing the years of violence known as “The Troubles” centered in Northern Ireland which came to an end with a 1998 peace agreement.
The UN representative said that this was the first financial contribution made by any country directly to the UN human rights office in Colombia.
“We hope for donations from other countries to allow the UN to be in all of the areas affected by the armed conflict,” Howland said, adding that the UN has started to seek funds from other donor countries.
President Juan Manuel Santos recently went on a European tour in search of both political and financial support for the Colombian peace process with the FARC guerrillas and an eventual post-conflict reconstruction.
Santos claimed the tour was “satisfactory” in spite of returning with no explicit support for a type of “Marshall Plan” for Colombia in the event peace is signed with rebel group FARC.
“The support we received has been more than we had hoped for,” Santos told press after his visit to British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
While the Colombian head of state did get the British vice PM to put on a dove-shaped pin, Clegg promised nothing but ongoing “support” for the peace talks that have been ongoing over the past two years.
However, like the leaders of Portugal, Belgium, France and Spain before him, Clegg did not commit to financially aiding the process or to the creation of a fund Colombia seeks to finance a post-conflict “Marshall Plan.”
The only European leader who did was Germany’s Angela Merkel who on Wednesday confirmed her government had approved a $95 million loan in the event a peace agreement with the Marxist rebels is signed.