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Thu Mar 5, 2015, 05:08 PM

Colombia: New Killings, Disappearances in Pacific Port

Colombia: New Killings, Disappearances in Pacific Port

Government Fails to Stop Criminal Groups’ Abuses

March 4, 2015

(Buenaventura) – Paramilitary successor groups are abducting, “disappearing,” and dismembering residents of the mostly Afro-Colombian port of Buenaventura, despite government measures announced a year ago to curb the violence, Human Rights Watch said today.

On March 6, 2014, after police reported finding several “chop-up sites” in Buenaventura where victims had been dismembered, President Juan Manuel Santos announced a “special intervention” to improve public security and dismantle paramilitary successor groups there. But new Human Rights Watch research shows alarming levels of abuses by the groups since the intervention began, including disappearances, sexual violence, and child recruitment. The groups have driven at least 6,900 residents from their homes since Santos’s announcement, with the municipality still having the highest rate of forced displacement in Colombia.

“A year has passed since the government announced it was going to take action in Buenaventura, and powerful criminal groups are still terrorizing residents,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Government measures have helped reduce violence, but the gangs’ brutal control over many neighborhoods remains fundamentally unchanged.”

Human Rights Watch visited Buenaventura last May and November and in February 2015, interviewing more than 70 abuse victims, their family members, public officials, and others.


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