The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke with Marta Lucía Ramírez, Colombia’s Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Minister Garneau conveyed his congratulations on the Vice President’s recent appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He restated Canada’s commitment to a robust and multifaceted bilateral relationship with Colombia, and our ongoing partnerships in the areas of peace and security, human rights, democracy, trade and development, noting that Canada and Colombia are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the bilateral free trade agreement.
They discussed the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and the importance of regional support for Venezuelans in their efforts to restore democracy. Both ministers affirmed their commitment to advancing democracy and human rights in the hemisphere.
Canada commended Colombia’s leadership in welcoming over 1.7 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants, including its decision to offer Temporary Protection Status to this population. Vice President Ramirez thanked Canada for hosting the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants on June 17, 2021.
Minister Garneau emphasized Canada’s concerns regarding violence in Colombia, both in the context of social protests and against social leaders and ex-combatants working to implement peace. He called on Colombia to keep its commitment to fully investigate and hold anyone who has violated human rights to account for their actions. They also discussed efforts to increase protection for vulnerable groups.
Minister Garneau also underscored Canada’s continued commitment to Colombia’s efforts to build lasting peace and announced over $3 million in new Peace and Stabilization Operations Program funding, which focuses on support to address conflict dynamics through monitoring and reporting, supporting local peacebuilding, including with the “Territorially-focused Development Plans”, and support to the Truth Commission (TC) in their engagement with victims of the conflict, including women and girls of diverse backgrounds and those living in Canada.