The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that Colombia’s armed conflict is not over, but has been pushed into rural areas where violence goes unreported, and that the FARC remain a threat, in a statement released Monday.
The success of the Uribe government in pushing armed groups out of cities has caused more violence in rural areas, especially the south of the country and the Pacific coast, where it often goes unreported. Victims in these parts of the country are “almost invisible,” according to Christophe Beney, who heads the ICRC delegation in Colombia.
“Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities are especially hard hit. Many are forced to flee because of threats to their lives. Others are killed, injured or subjected to sexual violence. And yet most of their tragedies go unreported, said Beney.
The ICRC representative also stated that “between the end of 2009 and early 2010, the FARC guerrilla group are dynamically adapting,” and that the group now “have a capacity again, as we have seen in these last two or three months, to remain an important player in the conflict,” reports El Espectador.
Colombia’s government rejected these statements, responding that the country has improved dramatically in the last eight years that President Alvaro Uribe has been in power.
“The result is that citizens respect the law, we are better and the FARC is weakened,” said peace commissioner Frank Pearl.
The ICRC recorded 800 violations of international human rights law in Colombia in the last year. This figure includes 28 murders, 61 attacks on civilians, and 84 disappearances which are thought to be linked to the ongoing conflict.
Beney highlighted official figures showing that 3.3 million people have been internally displaced, forced from their homes by the conflict, out of a population of 46 million. The ICRC has provided aid to over 50,000 of these internal refugees.