The Permanent Mission of Colombia in Geneva represents the country before the offices, agencies, funds and programs of the United Nations system, as well as before other international organizations based in this city.
Colombia is one of the 176 countries which have a Permanent Mission accredited in Geneva. This contributes to the objective of positioning and inserting the country in the international relations scope, particularly on multilateral subjects of fundamental importance. This representation bears the responsibility of acting in defence of the national interest, presenting and advancing the positions of Colombia on the various issues on the agenda of each agency, consolidating the direct relations between the government and the concerned agency, supporting State policies in each field and strengthening the compliance with agreed commitments.
The thematic responsibilities of the Mission include several areas, among them: humanitarian affairs, trade and development, human rights and international humanitarian law, disarmament, disasters, migration, environment, intellectual property, health, telecommunications and labor.
Defining the foreign policy guidelines in each of these areas requires extensive inter-agency consultations with State entities responsible in each field, responsibility which is carried out through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The representation of the Permanent Mission in Geneva is structured as follows:
Brief history of the Mission
The earliest reference to the establishment of a diplomatic representation of Colombia in Geneva can be traced to 1919, when the League of Nations was created. Once the First World War ended, the Paris Peace Conference was convened. It was attended by the nations that had severed relations with Germany.
On April 4, 1919, the Minister Plenipotentiary of Colombia to the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Ignacio Gutierrez Ponce, informed the Secretary General of the Paris Peace Conference about the creation of a Special Mission, in order to represent the Republic of Colombia before the Conference. This Mission would be composed by Mr. Francisco José Urrutia, who served at the time as Plenipotentiary to the Government of Spain; Mr. Antonio José Restrepo, Counsellor at the Legation of Colombia in Bern, and Ponce Gutierrez himself, who would act in the capacity of Head of the Mission.
As a result of the presence of the above mentioned delegation in Paris, Colombia was invited to join the League of Nations. Colombia reported accession with reservation to this Treaty, pending legislative approval, which would eventually come in the form of Law 49 of 1919, which included the national accession to the International Labour Organization, a body associated to the League of Nations. Colombia was admitted as member in the League of Nations on 16 February 1920.
The following delegates represented Colombia before the Ordinary and Special Sessions held within the framework of the League of Nations:
- Francisco José Urrutia, Delegate from 1920 to 1930
- Antonio José Restrepo, Delegate in 1920, 1921, 1927,1928, 1932
- Esteban Jaramillo, Delegate in 1926.
- Luis Samper Sordo, Delegate in 1928, 1929
- Agustín Nieto Caballero, Delegate in 1930, 1934
- Alfonso López, Delegate in 1930
- Eduardo Santos, Delegate in 1932, 1933, 1938
- José Luis Arango, Delegate in 1933
- Julio Eduardo Rueda, Delegate in 1933
- Jesús María Yepes, Delegate in 1934
- Emilio Cuervo Márquez, Delegate in 1934,1935
- Gabriel Turbay, Delegate in 1935, 1936, 1937
- Rafael Obregón, Delegate in 1935
- Carlos Lozano y Lozano, Delegate in 1936, 1937
- Francisco Umaña Bernal, Delegate in 1936, 1937, 1938
- José Joaquín Caicedo Castilla, Delegate in 1937
- Luis Tamayo, Delegate in 1938, 1939
- Jaime Jaramillo Arango, Delegate in 1939
- Luis Eduardo Nieto Caballero, Delegate in 1939
After the League of Nations ceased to exist in 1946, and with the creation of the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Colombia in Geneva has represented the country to the European Office of the UN. The following Ambassadors have served as heads of Mission:
Chronology of the ambassadors accredited to the European Office of the United Nations:
- Rafael Rocha Schloss (September 1948- February 1952)
- Luis González Barros (February 1952- Mayo 1957)
- Víctor Jiménez Suárez (Septembre 1957-January 1960)
- Eliseo Arango (January 1961- May 1967)
- Antonio Oviedo(May 1967- December 1970)
- Diego Garcés Giraldo (January 1971- November 1976)
- Héctor Charry Samper (November 1976- January 1989)
- Rafael Rivas Posada (May 1989-January1991)
- José Eduardo Mestre Sarmiento (1991-1993)
- Guillermo Alberto González (November 1993- February 1996)
- Gustavo Castro Guerrero (July 1996- August 1998)
- Camilo Reyes Rodríguez (August 1998- July 2003)
- Clemencia Forero Ucrós (July 2003-December 2008)
- Angelino Garzón (January 2009- March 2010)
- Alicia Arango Olmos (Mayo 2010- Diciembre 2013)
- Juan José Quintana Aranguren (Enero 2014-Abril 2015)
- Beatriz Londoño Soto (Mayo 2015- Present day)