Peace Community Reports Paras Recruiting Children

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The San Jose Peace Community has yet again denounced the presence of paramilitaries in their region, describing how these are tolerated and supported by the armed forces, and how they control every aspect of life in the area.

The Community complains that “week after week we see the growth of paramilitary activity” and that they report it to the President and other government entities, but that these simply pass on the reports to the armed forces and the police, the very forces which “incentivise, support, protect and cover up the paramilitaries.” Meanwhile the paramilitaries kill, threaten, displace, steal and destroy crops, and oblige peasants to do forced labour for them and “nobody does anything.”

The silence of terror rules

Paramilitaries routinely establish roadblocks, enter villages and ask for documents, carry out registrations of local people, call meetings and tax products, force peasants to grow coca, and impose their rules of social conduct, all under threat of death. “We live in a paramilitarised society while the Santos government sells the international community the great lie that paramilitarism no longer exists” now calling them “BACRIM” or criminal bands.

The Peace Community was established to oppose a society of death, one completely determined by death and war. It is this that leads them to denounce yet again the State’s active and passive support for paramilitary bases in Mano Cuello (200 paramilitaries), New Antioquia (100 paramilitaries), Piedras Blancas (100 paramilitaries), and Batata (300 paramilitaries). From these installations uniformed and civilian-clothed paramilitaries operate patrols, roadblocks, enter villages and control everything, with the acquiescence of the police and armed forces. The paramilitaries have recruited local children and also steal land from local peasants, forcing silence upon all with their death threats. Thus the local people live in an environment of enforced injustice while the State does nothing.

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