Colombia’s violent conflict is moving to previously unaffected areas, the local director of the Red Cross says. The Colombians’ apparent indifference to their disappeared compatriots concerns him.
“The conflict has moved to areas that were unaffected ten years ago,” says director Christophe Beney. “We need to have a greater presence in the Pacific and border areas that are more difficult for the state and other organizations to access. The Red Cross, with the quality of its contacts within armed groups, can [do that].”
Beney pointed out that the agency’s main interest is in helping Colombians displaced by the conflict. He noted that according to official figures, there have been three million displaced people, 40,000 missing and thousands of victims of landmines, reports weekly Semana.
The issue of 40,000 missing people – a figure put forth by the Prosecution – is one that greatly concerns the Red Cross. Beney said that the FARC hostages have been legitimized by the media, perhaps at the expense of many many other missing persons, which has contributed to a lack of mobilized concern and action on the part of other Colombians.
“With all respect for the families of those detained by the FARC, who deserve our support, respect and solidarity, but we’re talking about 23 families. In the case of the missing are talking about 40,000 households. The only victims legitimized by the media are held by the FARC. Civilians in conflict zones do not exist because there are no pictures of them in the media.”