The U.N. says that links between politicians and paramilitaries are still a cause for concern in Colombia, while “emerging bands” linked to the paramilitaries are responsible for a 40% rise in massacres in 2010, Caracol Radio reported Thursday.
The U.N. High Comissioner for Human Rights’ representative in Colombia, Christian Salazar, presented his report on human rights in Colombia in 2010, and said that the “so-called criminal groups” pose the greatest threat to security in the country.
The report found that the situation in Colombia “was exacerbated by the violence generated by illegal armed groups that emerged from the process of demobilization of paramilitary organizations,” reports El Tiempo.
These neo-paramilitary groups emerged from the flawed demobilization process, in which many middle-ranking paramilitaries simply replaced their demobilized and sometimes extradited leaders.
Salazar says that there have been 10 massacres in the northern department of Cordoba alone within the last eight months.
The U.N. official also expressed his concern that “parapolitics” has not disappeared, citing the fact that 13 re-elected members of Congress are currently under investigation.
“These groups have the power to corrupt and infiltrate the state … these groups are a strong threat to the rule of law,” Reuters quotes him as saying.
Salazar recommended the strict monitoring of political campaign finances in order to prevent infiltration of dirty money, while also mentioning his frustration with the Colombian government’s slow response to previous recommendations about dealing with sexual violence.
The latest figures documenting violence in Colombia count 179 massacred people in 38 different incidents last year, which back earlier reports labelling 2010 as the most violent year since the demobilization process.