Thursday, April 23, 2009

380,000 Colombians forced to flee due to armed conflict

380,000 Colombians have had to flee their homes due to the continuing armed conflict in the country. Since, 1997 the numbers have reached 2.9 million people. These numbers are disputed by the government of Colombia, but aid workers and reporters say that the displacement continues in Colombia's rural areas.

From the BBC, reporter we learn more of a survey of the displacement from a human rights organization.

The Centre for Human Rights and the Displaced, Codhes, says this is a 25% rise on 2008 and brings the total displaced since 1985 to 4.6 million.

Government officials say the number registered as displaced has risen.

But they say the Codhes total includes figures from previous years and those falsely claiming compensation.

In its annual report, Codhes says 2008 saw the rate of displacement rising to levels last seen in 2002, the worst year on record when 410,000 people were forced to flee.

According to its study, 380,863 people had to leave their homes or places of work as a result of the armed conflict between guerrillas, paramilitary groups and the security forces.

Codhes says that between 1985 and 2008, 4.6 million Colombians have been uprooted.

"The great majority live in severe conditions of poverty," the Codhes report said, while their own land and property had fallen into the hands of others in a "de facto expropriation".

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