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Colombia: Activity report underlines need to help all victims

25-04-2013 News Release 13/75

Geneva / Bogotá (ICRC) –The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Colombia today launched its 2012 activity report. The ICRC expressed its concern about the persistent suffering caused by the conflict and the actions of various armed groups.

"We welcome the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP in Havana," said Jordi Raich, head of the ICRC delegation in Colombia. "Both parties are making an effort to build on this unique opportunity to seek an end to the prolonged suffering of the victims. However, the talks have yet to bring about an improvement in people's living conditions in conflict-stricken areas." 

In its report, the ICRC applauds the progress made by the authorities in recognizing and making reparation to many victims under the existing legal and institutional framework. However, the organization also raises concerns about the considerable numbers of victims who are excluded from this assistance after suffering at the hands of emerging armed groups.

"We believe that victims of the armed conflict and of other situations of violence alike should receive support and reparation without discrimination," added Jordi Raich. "The suffering of people affected by displacement, murder and disappearance is the same, regardless of the underlying cause. That's why it makes no sense to draw a distinction between the victims."

Some 200,000 victims of both the armed conflict and other situations of armed violence benefited from the ICRC's humanitarian work in 2012. Its activities included distributing emergency relief, offering medical check-ups, repairing damaged infrastructure, and setting up farming projects.

In 2012 the ICRC documented 880 alleged violations of international humanitarian law and other basic rules by the parties to the conflict and other armed actors. Cases were reported of murder, disappearance, sexual violence, threats, occupation of civilian property, and attacks on patients, health-care workers and facilities.

The armed conflict continued to take a heavy toll in the departments of Arauca, Caquetá, Cauca, Nariño, Norte de Santander and Putumayo in particular. Other parts of the country and cities such as Medellín, Buenaventura and Tumaco were also affected by the activities of new organized armed groups and by armed violence.

For further information, please contact:
María Cristina Rivera, ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 75
Patricia Rey, ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 89
Alexis Heeb, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 37 72 or +41 79 218 76 10

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