Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
GARFIELD, Richard and LLANTEN MORALES, Claudia Patricia. The public health context of violence in Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2004, vol.16, n.4, pp. 266-271. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892004001000006.
OBJECTIVE: Among the countries of the Americas, Colombia has the highest level of deaths due to homicides and armed conflict. The objective of this research was to combine and contrast information from various sources on deaths due to violence in Colombia in order to identify major trends in violence in the country and to compare those trends with those in other nations of the Americas. METHODS: We drew together information from a wide array of sources, including the Government of Colombia, Colombian forensic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and international research centers. We considered the impact of the violence on mortality as well as in such areas as nonfatal injuries, displacement of persons, and kidnappings. RESULTS: While there have been many deaths in Colombia directly related to military conflict, there have been many more deaths and injuries as an indirect result of war. The highest levels of deaths directly related to violence occurred during the 1990-1995 period. Although deaths due directly to armed conflict declined in the late 1990s, the related events of kidnappings and displacement did not. CONCLUSIONS: Efforts to reduce the violence-related suffering in Colombia must consider both direct and indirect causes of mortality as well as nonfatal outcomes such as kidnappings and displacement.
Keywords : Violence; war; homicide; crime victims; Colombia.