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UN calls human rights situation in Colombia critical

[JURIST] The United Nations said Wednesday in an annual report by its High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] that Colombia's human rights situation had become critical in 2004, citing instances of torture and murder by the country's illegal armed groups as well as members of the state security forces. The report identifies the main violators to be left-wing guerrilla groups and far-right paramilitary militias who are fighting over control of the cocaine industry. However, the report also identifies killings and forced displacements by government security forces acting in concert with the paramilitaries. The report called on the government to increase human rights training for the police and armed forces as a way to reduce abuses and violence. The UN also demanded Colombia's guerrillas and paramilitaries free everyone they have kidnapped and turn over their arms. The Colombian government [Colombian Presidency website, in Spanish] responded to the report by saying it "noted the concerns expressed in the high commissioner's report, some of which are being urgently addressed." Read the UN press release summarizing the report and responses to it. Read the Colombian government press release in response [in Spanish], suggesting that the UN "recognized Colombia's advances in human rights." Reuters has more.

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