Despite the demobilization of the country’s largest guerrilla group, Colombia still has at least five internal armed conflicts, according to the Red Cross.

In a recent publication, the international humanitarian aid organization said that four of the armed conflicts were between the state and illegal armed groups and one was between rival guerrilla groups.


Colombia’s armed conflicts

  1. State vs. National Liberal Army (ELN)
  2. State vs. Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC / Gulf Clan)
  3. State vs. Popular Liberation Army (EPL / Los Pelusos)
  4. State vs. FARC’s dissident 1st Front
  5. ELN vs. EPL

Source: International Committee of the Red Cross


Other ongoing violent conflicts, like between the AGC and the ELN, and the AGC and the Caparrapos, did not meet the aid organizations’ standards to be considered an armed conflict.

The Red Cross said that, based on international humanitarian law, it considered a violent conflict a “non-international armed conflict” (NIAC)  if the conflict complies with two requisites.


What makes an internal armed conflict

  1. Hostilities reach a minimum level of intensity, which is measured by indicative criteria such as the number, duration and violence of the clashes, the number of people taking part in the hostilities and how they use force, the type of weapons used, the number of victims and the effects of violence on the civilian population.
  2. The non-governmental groups involved in the violence are sufficiently organized. The indicative criteria to establish whether this condition is met would be the existence of a hierarchical structure and chain of command, the capacity to plan, coordinate and carry out military operations, the capacity to recruit and train arms bearers, the existence of rules of internal discipline, the capacity of commanders to control the members of the group and territorial control.

Source: International Committee of the Red Cross


The humanitarian organization stressed that the motives of non-state armed actors are irrelevant to determine whether there is an armed conflict or not.

Along the same lines, it is irrelevant whether a group is determined a “terrorist” or a “criminal” organization by the state or foreign governments.

The post Colombia has not one, but five armed conflicts: Red Cross appeared first on Colombia News | Colombia Reports.

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