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Colombia: Lina, under house arrest, awaits medical treatment

24-04-2013 Feature

Lina,* looking pale and thin, is still recovering from a recent operation. With a calm gesture, she indicates that she is fine. Although still in a little pain, she is happy to be back with her people, with her family, in spite of being under arrest.

Twelve years ago, when she had just finished primary school, she joined an armed group operating in the area where she lived with her mother. As a result of this decision, she lost all contact with her family. She was just 13 years old at the time.

One day, during a clash, she was shot three times in the leg. Her right leg was destroyed and she was taken to the nearest hospital to be treated. She remained there for three days under close guard. Waking up after the operation was a very difficult moment. She was disorientated and frightened and there was a warrant for her arrest. She recalls that people from the ICRC came to give her some advice and make sure that she knew her rights. “They were the only people I could trust and they gave me strength. And best of all, they were able to find my mother and bring her to me.” Her mother had thought her dead and seeing her again was like coming back to life, leaving behind all those “years of grief and sadness.”

After the operation Lina needed specialized care, and the ICRC arranged for her and her mother to be transferred to Bogotá. There, the ICRC closely monitored the treatment she received to ensure that her status as a detainee did not prevent her from receiving a satisfactory standard of care.

Because of her delicate state of health, Lina was placed under house arrest, awaiting authorization from the national health insurance entity for an operation to treat a bone infection. When we asked her mother about the support provided by the ICRC, she replied, “Where do I start? The Red Cross has been everything for me. I have wonderful things to say about the Red Cross.”

* Name changed

Colombia activity report 2012
 


Photos

There are 113,884 people held in State detention facilities in Colombia. In 2012 the ICRC visited 67 of those facilities to monitor the conditions of detention. 

There are 113,884 people held in State detention facilities in Colombia. In 2012 the ICRC visited 67 of those facilities to monitor the conditions of detention.
© CICR / D. Duarte