HomeNewsBriefBACRIM Responsible for 30% of Human Rights Violations in Colombia
BRIEF

BACRIM Responsible for 30% of Human Rights Violations in Colombia

COLOMBIA / 16 APR 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Colombia's BACRIM are on average responsible for 3 of every 10 human rights abuses reported in Colombia, according to the national ombudsman, making these criminal groups the most egregious violators of human rights in the country.

The President of the National Federation of Ombudsmen (FENALPER), Andres Santamaria, reported that the hybrid criminal organizations known as BACRIM -- a Spanish acronym that stands for "criminal bands" -- have replaced right-wing paramilitaries and left-wing guerrillas as the principal perpetrators of abuses such as mass displacement. The BACRIM control local drug trafficking, extort legal and illegal businesses, and sell processed cocaine to international criminal groups.

According to a FENALPER study, the most affected states are Bolivar, Choco and Antioquia -- where BACRIM are responsible for up to 40 percent of human rights violations. Other states on the list were Valle del Cauca, Nariño, Cordoba, Sucre, and Norte de Santander.

The most serious case occurred in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca, where the BACRIM were responsible for 90 percent of 7,000 victims in 17 forced displacements registered between September and November 2012, as various armed groups battled for control of local drug trafficking businesses.

InSight Crime Analysis

The report starkly contrasts with recent government comments that 90 percent of Colombia is BACRIM free. A Bogota think tank claimed in March that the government has failed to properly assess and respond to the threat posed by these groups, which infiltrate society at many levels.

Santamaria said the government should consider amending the two-year-old Victims Law, which aims to compensate victims of Colombia's conflict. The law provides resources for victims of human rights abuses carried out by paramilitaries, guerrillas and state forces, but excludes the BACRIM. 

Many civil society organizations also say the BACRIM should be reclassified as conflict actors to give their victims legal recourse. However, the 2011 Victims Law already covers an estimated 4 million people, making it unlikely that the government will expand its purview in the near future. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 19 AUG 2016

Claims that elements of the FARC guerrilla organization are defying its leadership's orders to stop extorting people during the final…

COLOMBIA / 17 DEC 2021

A lucrative covert delivery business run by prison guards in Colombia has provided yet another example of the diverse range…

COLOMBIA / 28 MAR 2013

Police in Costa Rica have dismantled a network that trafficked cocaine from Colombia for sale within the country, highlighting how…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…