The Organization of American States (OAS) expressed concern over the rising homicide rates in Colombia’s major cities and the emergence of groups taking the place of paramilitaries, reported El Tiempo.
A biannual report released Wednesday by the OAS’s Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP) outlined the violence created around the country by gangs which have emerged from the demobilized paramilitary groups.
OAS secretary general Jose Miguel Insulza said that paramilitaries had “disappeared as a political reality in the country”, describing it as a great achievement of the country’s peace process, which began in 2004, but that criminal gangs associated with drug trafficking have emerged to take their place.
Insulza stated that the key to progress was to quash recruitment into the groups, which would require a “comprehensive national strategy.”
Two former paramilitary leaders told a reparations hearing Wednesday that the demobilization process had been a failure as many disbanded fighters later rejoined illegal armed groups.
Colombian ambassador to the OAS and presidential social advisor, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, praised the achievements made by the country since 2004.
“Colombia is doing what no other country has done: A peace process in which there is no impunity for those involved,” Hoyos said.