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The Centre for Popular Research and Education (Cinep) in Bogotá has reported that during 2012 there were 11 separate cases of extrajudicial executions in Colombia, suggesting that executions known as ‘false positives’ are still ongoing. A further eight cases of arbitrary detention have also been reported, amassing a total of 52 victims.
The false positives scandal refers to the Colombian military’s alleged sanctioned practice of killing civilians and then dressing them up in guerrilla fatigues in order to present them as combat kills. Reports show that the executions usually target famers, social activists, and political opponents.
The scandal is part of continuous armed conflict between Colombia’s government and the FARC and ELN, both guerilla forces. In May last year the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) alleged that over 3,000 civilians had been killed between 2002 and 2008 as a result of the conflict.
Cinep also claim that the general state of human rights in Colombia is poor with members of the paramilitary “the greatest violators” responsible for 565 cases, followed by the police with 268. Giraldo Serna, of Cinep, said, “Threats, tortures, disappearances, deaths, and social cleansing are still implemented in Colombia.”
The government denied ‘false positives’ are still occurring but Cinep believes the problem is far greater than people think. “Those who justify the false positives don’t realise they are damaging the prestige of the police force,” said Cinep spokesman Alejandro Angulo.