Colombia Western's worst humanitarian crisis, UN says

A 40 years civil war, drug trafficking, hijikings and astronomic crime rates turned the South American country into a nightmare for its citizens.

Top UN official, Kamel Morjane, urged the international community recently not to ignore what has been considered as the world's worst humanitarian crisis outside Africa: Colombia's 40-year civil war. Morjane, the Assistant UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also said that the situation was only worse in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

According to estimations handled by the United Nations, no less than three million people have been forced from their homes in the four decade internal conflict. "Internally displaced people in Colombia are one of, if not the worst humanitarian crisis in the western hemisphere," Mr Morjane said after a trip to Colombia and Ecuador.

After asking the international community for aid and not to ignore the situation in the South American country, Morjane expressed his feelings: "I felt I was in one of the most impoverished African countries”, he said. “It was shocking to see the conditions they live in", told international news agencies. The UNHCR official also said the crisis was a regional and an international problem.

The humanitarian crisis comes as thousands have to leave their homes to move into safe places inside or outside the countries, as entire regions as Arauca, in the border with Venezuela are virtually no man lands. There, leftist insurgency fights right wing paramilitaries to control the area, as the Colombian military, assisted by US officers, try to secure oil and gas pipelines blown from time to time.

The Human Rights group "Reporters without Borders" conducted a research in the area and concluded that local authorities systematically violate press freedom. According to the investigation, currently exist journalist on black list and even their lives are not guaranteed. "Paramilitaries killed circulated several statements, in which they declared journalists and the news media in general to be a military target", reads the report.

"The internally displaced people are invisible in this crisis, not only internationally but even in Bogota," Mr Morjane said. The humanitarian crisis has been obscured by the focus on drug trafficking or the conflict between the Colombian government and rebel groups, the UN official reportedly claimed.


Hernan Etchaleco

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov