On Sunday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed its concern about the forced displacement of at least 2,600 Colombian people in Santa Rosa municipality because of clashes between paramilitary groups.
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“Our organization calls on armed groups to respect humanitarian norms," stated ICRC spokesperson Nicolas Lessens, adding that human rights organizations should work together to provide help to displaced people.
So far, ICRC has guaranteed food supplies, personal toiletries, and drinking water filters to 1,800 Colombians who are temporarily housed in the Arturo Arbelaez Municipal Stadium.
ICRC also donated 2,700 masks to the Santa Rosa Health Secretary to be distributed in the Arbelaez shelter to avoid COVID-19 contagions. Other local institutions have coordinated to provide health services to displaced people if necessary.
Previously, ICRC warned that paramilitary gangs dedicated to drug trafficking are displacing and killing farmers to gain territory. Between January and April, ICRC reported 195 victims of explosive devices, a figure which shows an increase of 22 percent over the same period in 2020. Cauca and Norte de Santander were the departments most affected given that they concentrated 71 percent of the victims.
On Aug.3, ICRC also received four civilians who had been kidnapped for four months in the Santander department on the border with Venezuela. This organization provided medical help to these people, who were transferred with their families.
So far this year, this international humanitarian organization has received 33 requests to search for missing persons and has facilitated the release of at least 12 Colombians held by armed groups.