Colombia’s branch of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday asked the country’s conflicting factions to not attack medical missions.
In a press release, the President of the Red Cross in Colombia Fernando Jose Cardenas said that “a single act of which impedes the efforts of health care workers can endanger the lives of many people and have an impact difficult to remedy in the long-term.”
According to the humanitarian organization, attacks on medical mission have been steadily increasing since 2010, when 55 attacks related to the armed conflict took place. There were 92 reported cases in 2011 and although that fell to 88 in 2012, since the start of this year until July there were 97 attacks.
“The 97 cases so far reported this year represent 97 situations where medical care was denied to those who needed it, including the free movement and allocation of ambulances and health personnel,” Francisco Moreno, spokesperson for the ICRC, told Colombia Reports.
Moreno continued to say that the increase was due to the actions of organizations triggering violence in areas affected by social unrest that consequently affects the work of health care workers.
Colombia has seen social unrest erupt in several parts of the country over the past two months. In the northeast, farmers are protesting and putting up roadblocks while miners have been taking similar actions in the west. While the miners have ended their protests, the farmers agreed to open one of the main roads.