UN demands immediate release of UNODC official kidnapped in south Colombia

The United Nations on Thursday demanded the immediate release of one of its employees who was kidnapped by alleged dissident FARC guerrillas in south Colombia.

The employee of the UN’s anti-crime and drugs branch was kidnapped in the Guaviare province while on his way from a meeting with coca farmers to Miraflores, where the UN has an office.

The community meeting reportedly was meant to convince the farmers in one of Colombia’s most important coca-cultivation areas to take part in a voluntary crop substitution program that is part of a peace deal between the government and the FARC.

The United Nations in Colombia condemns the yesterday’s events in Guaviare that violate the integrity and the rights of a colleague of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and demand his immediate release.

United Nations Mission in Colombia

Colombia’s Post-conflict Minister Rafael Pardo told media on Thursday that the Colombian UN worker would be released around noon.

The kidnapping took place only hours before the arrival of the United Nations’ Security Council that had planned a visit to support the peace efforts and hear about the progress and setbacks of the peace process it is monitoring.

The UN had already warned the Colombian government about an increase in violence in former FARC territory like the region where the UNODC employee was kidnapped.

The 15 ambassadors that make up this council met with President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday morning and are expected to visit a FARC demobilization camp on Friday.

After that, the Security Council will consider extending its initial 180-day monitoring mandate with three years amid delays and irregularities that have marked to first month of a 10-year process to end more than half a century of armed conflict.

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