Photo: Juan Duque / ICRC

Calls to action from the ICRC to Colombia in 2022

The reality of Colombians living in the midst of armed conflicts and violence remains complex.
Article 23 March 2022 Colombia

These are our calls to action for the year 2022 on the issues that most concern us in Colombia.

Armed conflicts

  • We urge the next government and members of congress elected in 2022 to prioritize in their political agendas the care and protection of victims and communities affected by armed conflicts and violence.
  • We remind state security forces and armed groups of their strict obligation to respect international humanitarian law and other humanitarian standards and to take precautions to spare civilians and civilian objects from the effects of the hostilities.
  • We urge all armed actors to consider the humanitarian impact of using and abandoning explosive hazards. These hazards affect the civilian population and lead to grave consequences, both physical and psychological. They also limit the mobility of communities and impede access to basic services, such as health care and education.
  • Sexual violence is unacceptable. We call on all weapon bearers to prevent and refrain from committing acts of this type. We also remind state institutions of the importance of providing immediate attention and applying the appropriate protocols to victims, whose suffering is both physical and emotional.
  • We urge the state to create more protected spaces and opportunities for young people in rural and urban areas, in order to prevent the recruitment of children and adolescents by armed groups.
  • Migrants suffer the consequences of armed conflicts, just like the host population. We, therefore, encourage the state to take appropriate steps to ensure care, assistance and recognition for migrants as victims, to enable them to access measures provided for by law, regardless of their migrant status.
  • We stress that the state must strengthen its institutional capacity to provide comprehensive care to all victims, including psychosocial and economic support. It is important that these people be treated with dignity and not be revictimized.

Missing persons

  • We call on weapon bearers to take every step necessary to prevent the disappearance of people, including by properly managing the dead. We urge them to pass on to institutions searching for missing people any useful information that may help to clarify the fate and whereabouts of people who have disappeared in the context of armed conflict and violence.
  • We invite organizations responsible for addressing the issue of missing persons to properly acquaint themselves with the Urgent Search Mechanism. We urge prosecutors and judges to activate this mechanism immediately and correctly when required.
  • Coordination between state institutions is needed to support and strengthen the collective search model implemented by the Missing Persons Search Unit. Whatever the results of this year's elections, it is important that this unit continues to receive the support and resources necessary to carry out its work.

Health care

  • We call on armed actors to cease attacks on health-care workers, facilities and vehicles. These affect health professionals and patients alike, often leaving whole communities without access to health care.
  • We also remind civilians of the importance of respecting and protecting health-care workers, in recognition of the essential role that they play in society, namely saving lives.
  • Given that most incidents have entailed the obstruction of ambulances and medical supplies, we ask citizens to allow health-care personnel to carry out their work under all circumstances and without limitations. In emergency situations and priority cases, every second counts.