Human Rights Watch

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Colombia/Venezuela: Armed Groups Control Lives at Border

Killings, Forced Labor, Child Recruitment

Wednesday 22 January 2020


(Bogotá, January 22, 2020) – Armed groups use brutal violence to control peoples’ daily lives in the eastern Colombian province of Arauca and the neighboring Venezuelan state of Apure, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 64-page report, “‘The Guerrillas Are the Police’: Social Control and Abuses by Armed Groups in Colombia’s Arauca Province and Venezuela’s Apure State” documents violations by the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Patriotic Forces of National Liberation (FPLN), and a group that emerged from the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Abuses including murder, forced labor, child recruitment, and rape are often committed as part of the groups’ strategy to control the social, political, and economic life of Arauca and Apure. Impunity for such abuses is the rule.

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