The malignant effect of criminal gangs on the lives of civilians in Colombia has become the leading concern for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Terra reported Thursday.
“What worries us most of all is the humanitarian impact of the actions of these groups and the conflict between a multitude of different armed actors” Christophe Beney, the head of the ICRC delegation to Colombia, told reporters in Bogota.
In speaking of criminal gangs, Beney primarily referred to “BACRIM,” a term coined by the Colombian government used to describe neo-paramilitary groups that emerged from the demobilization of the AUC.
He went on to say that while in some areas of the country the violence had subsided, the internal conflict as a concern for the ICRC is still “very much alive” given the worrisome impact it has on civilians.
Beney’s remarks coincided with the release of the ICRC’s operational report for 2010, entitled, “Colombia: all victims deserve timely care and support”.
In the report, it was stated that the work of the ICRC benefited 700,000 people in Colombia last year, of which 180,000 received direct assistance form the organization.
Thirty eight thousand of those who received attention were displaced, 170,000 were treated by mobile health units, 172 were victims of sexual abuse and 434 were victims of landmines. A further 1,031 people who suffered violent intimidation were also given assistance as well as 79 families of killed civilians, 92 families of missing persons and 42 recruited children, among other cases.