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Global Education

Drug wars create a refugee crisis

By Denebola
Published: November 2007
By Christine Busaba and Anjali JacobFor the South American nation of Colombia, 39 years of violence
between the government and left-wing gorillas have left behind a trail
of 2 to 3 million internally displaced refugees.
In 2001 alone, 190,000 Colombians acquired displaced status.
Thousands continue to cross the Colombian border into Ecuador,
Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru.
The Assistant UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Kamel Morjane,
called the situation in Colombia the second worst in the world, only
behind the Congo and Sudan.
Colombia’s internal conflicts have often been blamed on the illegal
drug trade, which accounts for a third of Colombia’s exporting
profits. The Colombian army, leftwing guerillas, drug traffickers, and
paramilitary groups have been engaged in a power struggle since the
mid 1980s. The country has faced political murders and
“disappearances.” Colombia also has one of the highest crime rates,
instances of kidnappings, and homicides.
The situation for women remains particularly difficult. Many must
deal with the reality of rape, and assaults, which have become a
common place, in areas of war ravaged Colobia.
Amnesty International, an organization that campaigns human rights,
has criticized the Colombian government’s reaction to this crisis.
To combat the rebels, the government has begun to use the empty
villages deserted by downtrodden people to its advantage. Some
villages suspected of sympathizing with rebels are even subject to
bombing by the Colombian military.
Despite these atrocious human rights violations; Americans remain
unaware of Colombia’s perilous situation.

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