The Defense Ministry announced Thursday that human rights complaints against Colombia’s security forces have dropped 96% since 2006.
The number of complaints fell from 256 in 2006 to 13 complaints this year, according to a press release. The highest number of complaints concerned alleged violations of the rights of protected persons, with 11 registered, down from 209 in 2006. This year there have been zero human rights complaints for forced disappearances, one for arbitrary detention, and one for sexual violence.
The ministry pointed out that this achievement is accentuated by the fact that the security forces have in this period grown to 430,000 members.
In 2006, there were 1,781 human rights complaints against the police for abuse of authority, torture, injuries, negligence, illegal detention, disappearance and murder. The figure has fallen to 108 so far in 2010, according to the official figures.
The Ministry of Defense also announced that 125,000 soldiers have receive human rights training through partnerships with the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare and UNICEF.
Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera said in September that no human rights violations complaints had been made against the security forces so far in 2010, contradicting a Defense Ministry announcement in June that so far in 2010 there had been ten complaints against the armed forces.
The United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights issued a report in March which criticized the ongoing violations of human rights and abuses of power taking place in Colombia. It acknowledged that while security has improved in the country, a “climate of terror” still exists for certain groups, including union members, indigenous community leaders, Afro-Colombians, representatives of displaced populations, judges, lawyers, and journalists.