Letter to the Editor: Displaced in Colombia

Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli
Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli Senior Associate for Colombia and Haiti, Washington Office on Latin America

August 1, 2000

The writer serves as senior research assistant for the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement. To the Editor:

You report (front page, July 25) that life for Colombians living in the demilitarized zone run by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is not easy.

Indeed, the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement, a Colombian research group based in Bogotá, reported that last year, some 3,900 people fled the zone because of threats and accusations of being informants of the armed forces or paramilitary groups and from systematic human rights violations.

Colombia has 1.8 million internally displaced people, the worst case of displacement in the Western Hemisphere. All of the groups fighting for control in Colombia are guilty of displacement, but paramilitary activity is by far the worst culprit. Paramilitaries aim at those who flee the FARC, so that the displaced find no refuge.