||Book, Internet Resource
|All Authors / Contributors:
Human Rights Watch (Organization)
||"February 2010"--Page following title page.
||124 pages : illustrations, color map ; 27 cm
||Map of Colombia --
Summary and recommendations --
The successor groups : a predictable outcome of a flawed demobilization --
The successor groups' human rights and humanitarian impact --
||New face of violence in Colombia
Columbia, paramilitaries' heirs
Between 2003 and 2006 the Colombian government implemented a demobilization process for 37 armed groups that made up the brutal, mafia-like, paramilitary coalition known as the AUC. The government claimed success, as more than 30,000 persons went through demobilization ceremonies and entered reintegration programs. But almost immediately afterwards, new groups cropped up all over the country, taking the reins of the criminal operations that the AUC leadership previously ran. Today, these successor groups are engaging in frequent and serious abuses against civilians, including massacres, killings, forced displacement, rapes, threats, and extortion. They have repeatedly targeted human rights defenders, trade unionists, displaced persons, and community members who do not follow their orders. In some regions, like the city of Medellín, where the homicide rate has doubled in the past year, the groups' operations have resulted in a large increase in violence. Paramilitaries' Heirs, based on nearly two years of field research, documents the extent to which the emergence of the successor groups is related to the government's failure to effectively demobilize many AUC leaders and fighters. It describes the groups' brutal abuses against civilians, particularly in Medellín, the Urabá region, and the states of Meta and Nariño. And it points out continuing shortcomings in the government's response to the groups. The state has an obligation to protect the civilian population, to prevent abuses, and to hold perpetrators accountable. But it has failed to ensure that the police units charged with combating the groups, or the group of prosecutors charged with investigating them, have sufficient capacity to do so. It has done too little to investigate regular reports that state officials are at a minimum tolerating the activities of the successor groups. And it has yet to take adequate measures to protect civilians from this new threat.