Women suffering in Colombia conflict

All sides involved in Colombia's 40-year-old civil war have sexually abused and exploited women, Amnesty International has said in a damning report.

    The Colombian conflict has claimed more than 200,000 lives

    In the report titled "Scarred bodies, hidden crimes" that recounts stories of rapes, sexual slavery and killings, the human rights body on Wednesday said Colombian women have been used as a "battleground" in course of the country's civil strife.

    "During the course of Colombia's 40-year-old conflict, all the armed groups – the security forces, army-backed paramilitaries and the guerrillas – have sexually abused or exploited women and girls," the Amnesty report said.

    "They have sought to control the most intimate parts of women's lives," Amnesty said. "By sowing terror and exploiting and manipulating women for military gain, bodies have been turned into a battleground".

    Armed conflict

    Leftist guerrillas have been battling the Colombian government since 1964 in a war that has claimed more than 200,000 lives. Right-wing paramilitary groups joined the fighting against the guerrillas in the 1980s.

    "These violations, committed against civilians and armed group's own combatants, have remained behind a wall of silence, hidden by discrimination and impunity," the report further stated.

    "Women and girls have been kidnapped by the illegal armed groups as sexual slaves for the commanders. Guerrilla and paramilitary groups have also recruited women and girls to their ranks who subsequently been sexually abused by fellow combatants".

    "All sides to the conflict must take action to end the violence against women," Amnesty said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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