End the conflict, change Colombia: 7,500 Colombians Displaced by Conflict in 2010

End the conflict, change Colombia: For negotiation with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)!
More than 7,500 people have been displaced by the armed conflict in Colombia so far in 2010, according to a recent United Nations report that alerts authorities to the need for “urgent” measures to protect the civilian population.

The report, prepared by the Bogota bureau of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and released Tuesday by certain media outlets, also notes that so far this year at least 20 children have been killed or wounded in armed clashes.

“These figures give evidence of serious gaps in protection and the need for urgent measures to guarantee the rights of the civilian population amid the armed conflict,” the OCHA said.

One of the more worrying situations is occurring in the southwestern municipality of El Charco, where more than 300 people have been displaced in August by combat between the army and guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The situation in El Charco, “inhabited mostly by an indigenous and African-Colombian population, is shaping up to be a humanitarian crisis that is manifested in lack of food security, restrictions on mobility and continuous massive displacements, in a context of poverty and inequality,” the OCHA document said.

The report also denounced the recent displacement of 380 Indians in two other southwestern towns ravaged by violent disputes among armed groups linked to drug trafficking.

In addition, the OCHA emphasizes the difficult situation in the southern portion of the northern province of Cordoba, where there are “continuous pressure and attacks on the civilian population by illegal armed groups, among which are massacres, forced recruitment of minors, sexual violence and continuous displacements.”

The independent Colombian human rights group Codhes, one of the most rigorous in the study of the armed conflict, said in its most recent report, published in January, that between 2002 and 2009 some 2.4 million Colombians were forced to leave their homes.

Those 2.4 million people made up 49 percent of the 4.9 million people displaced by the internal conflict over the past 25 years.

While some are driven from their homes by combat, whether between the army and the FARC or among rival drug gangs, many rural Colombians have been turned into refugees by thugs working for business interests seeking control of land or resources.

Latin American Herald Tribune:

<http://laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=364271&CategoryId=12393>

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