60,000 paramilitary and rebel victims seek compensation


Victims of rape, torture, kidnapping and other crimes
by illegal armed groups have submitted a flood of applications and made
thousands of phone calls to the Colombian Compensation Commission in
the past month, reported the International Organization for Migration.

Residents of all 29 departments have submitted 53,683 applications
and made 6,370 phone calls to claim reparation — which tops out at 40
months of salary at national minimum wage — for alleged crimes, the IOM reported Tuesday.

Applications have increased more than eight-fold increase since August 20, when the Presidential Agency for Social Action reported they had received 7,000 applications.

IOM was responsible for a publicity campaign for the program, the
printing and distributing the application forms, and organizing the
processing of all claims.

There are an estimated 140,000 victims of violence by paramilitaries
and rebels. Victims have until 2010 to apply for reparation.

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