International human rights watchdog Amnesty International says in its annual The State of the World’s Human Rights report that Colombian government security forces, paramilitaries, and guerrillas are all guilty of serious human rights violations, reports W Radio.
According to the report, while extra judicial killings dropped in 2009, there was a small increase in the amount of forced displacements due to the internal conflict, which, the report said, had “devastating” consequences for the civilian population.
The report denounced the situation of forced displacement and disappearances, civilian murders, sexual violence against women, hostage taking, forced recruitment of minors, and indiscriminate attacks against the population.
Amnesty reported that at least 114 indigenous Colombians, 8 human rights activists, and 39 unionists were murdered in 2009.
The report also highlighted that during the year, 286,000 people were added to Colombia’s burgeoning list of internally displaced people, and 213 people were kidnapped, mainly by criminal gangs, but also by guerillas.
In the report, Amnesty also noted a rise in the murder of individuals from socially marginalized groups and indigenous villages, in addition to a rise in the amount of threats against human rights workers.
The report noted a “strong increase” in violence within most Colombian cities, which it attributed to the armed conflict, narco-trafficking gangs, and “social cleansing.”
On a positive note, the report highlighted the advances made by the country’s supreme court in investigating the “parapolitics” phenomon, reporting that 80 members of congress were or still are being investigated for alleged links to illegal paramilitary groups.
Amnesty’s 2010 report, according to its website, “documents abuses in 159 countries and shows how powerful governments are blocking advances in international justice by standing above the law on human rights, shielding allies from criticism and acting only when politically convenient.”
Amnesty, based out of the United Kingdom, has been highly critical of the Colombian government in the past for its failure to promote human rights within its borders.
In April, the NGO sent wrote an open letter to the Colombian presidential candidates asking them to make human rights a top priority in their campaigns, after what the NGO saw as a “shocking” lack of emphasis placed on the issue of human rights so far in the campaign for the May 30 presidential elections.
In February, Colombia’s Inspector General responded to Amnesty’s criticisms that the Colombian government fails to protect indigenous citizens by arguing that the NGO completely ignores the work the Uribe administration has done to guarantee indigenous rights, and that Amnesty does not take into account the fact that some indigenous communities are displaced because they are cultivating illegal coca crops.