Colombia’s civilian population is increasingly a victim of the violent conflict in the country, says a report by human rights organization
Amnesty International. According to the NGO, more people were
killed, displaced or disappeared in the period July 2007 – June 2008 than the previous year.
According to the report, 1,515 civilians were killed in the researched year. This is a 12 percent increase from the year before. 200 people disappeared and are feared dead, which is a 68 percent rise. 270,000 people were displaced in the first half of 2008, compared to 191,000 in the same period the previous year.
All parties in the conflict (armed forces, right-wing paramilitaries and left-wing guerrillas) use children in their battle against each other, Amnesty says; the army used children as informants and both paramilitaries and guerrillas recruited minors to fight in conflict.
According to the report, 296 fell victim to extrajudicial killings by the armed forces in the first half of 2008, a slight rise compared to the same period in 2007.
Paramilitary violence saw a sharp rise in the researched period. According to Amnesty, 461 civilians were killed by right-wing death squads between July 2007 and June 2008, almost double the amount the year before.
AI accuses the armed forces of continuing to use death squads in military and intelligence operations.
The NGO reported that the FARC murdered 189 civilians in the researched year, 25 less than the year before. 45 civilians and 102 members of the security forces died because of the use of the landmines, which are forbidden by the Geneva convention. The NGO also blames the FARC for sowing terror by conducting bomb attacks on urban areas.
In terms of dealing with the human rights abuses, Colombian authorities fail to punish those guilty. “Impunity remained the norm,” says the report.