More than 100,000 people suffer forced confinement by armed groups in Colombia, says NRC

Indigenous
Indigenous community in Antioquia, Colombia. – CONSEJO NORUEGO PARA LOS REFUGIADOS (NRC)

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has denounced that more than 100,000 people are suffering forced confinement by armed groups in Colombia, years after the peace agreement.

The NRC has called on the Executive of Gustavo Petro and the armed groups to take bilateral dialogues with the armed groups to an end to these practices, which it calls «humiliation and degradation».

«We call on the Colombian government and non-state armed actors to agree to a lasting peace that will benefit vulnerable populations affected by these inhumane restrictions of movement,» explained the NGO’s acting director in Colombia, Juan Gabriel Wells.

«The confinement and mobility restrictions we are witnessing in Colombia is humiliating and degrading. The guerrillas must commit to ending this senseless practice immediately,» urged the senior NGO official.

The organization said these non-state actors confine entire communities to their homes or neighborhoods, preventing them from accessing job opportunities, medical care or education.

«Imagine being forced to stay in your home by armed men, day after day. Confinement in Colombia means you can’t work, visit your family or send your children to school,» Wells has criticized.

Some of those affected said they are «trapped» because the armed groups impose rules such as not being able to go out, not being able to use a road or not wanting to see anyone passing through a certain place. In addition to these warnings, residents live in fear of walking because of the presence of landmines.

In this regard, NRC has reiterated the importance of treating civilians in armed conflict with dignity.

Armed violence persists and armed groups use forced confinement as a strategy to exert control over isolated communities and territories that are often used for illicit activities.

The signing of the Peace Accords between the Government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) is six years old with achievements and also with challenges that indicate that the conflict has not ended in the Latin American country.

Now, the Executive of Gustavo Petro has resumed negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in order to agree on a lasting peace with the guerrilla.