Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 14:19 UK

ICRC warns Colombia conflict victims 'forgotten'

Children in the remote village of Negrito fashion toy guns out of wood (Copyright: Christoph von Toggenburg)
A child in the remote village of Negrito (Image: Christoph von Toggenburg)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that Colombians caught up in the civil conflict there are in danger of being forgotten.

Fighting has shifted from densely populated areas to remote regions where the fate of tens of thousands of people is almost invisible, the ICRC says.

ICRC staff recorded 800 alleged human rights violations last year, including murder and sexual violence.

Left-wing rebel groups have fought the Colombian government since the 1960s.

The ICRC says the number of people displaced by the conflict now stands at 3.3m out of a population of about 46m - one of the highest figures in the world.

The south of the country and the Pacific coast are among areas worst affected, the ICRC says, with indigenous communities and those of African origin especially vulnerable.

"Many are being forced to flee because of threats to their lives. Other are subjected to extra-judicial killings or to sexual violence, and yet most of their tragedies go unreported," said Christophe Beney, ICRC's head of operations in Colombia.

The ICRC has been distributing food and household items to more than 50,000 displaced people.

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