Colombia, in South America, has suffered a civil war for over 50 years. Guerilla groups control significant areas of the country and remain today locked in combat with the State forces and paramilitary armies in a conflict characterised by its complexity. Colombia is rich in many natural resources. In the battle for territory, economic control of both legal and illegal resources attaches as much importance as political control. Corruption is rife and violence endemic. Few of those responsible for the massacres and extrajudicial killings are convicted.
The civilian popultion has suffered the worst of the violence, and the internally displaced population is second only to that in Sudan. The majority of the victims live in poverty. Many have fled their homes and continue to live in fear. Most have no knowledge of their human and environmental rights and no way of finding or employing a lawyer to redress the abuses they have suffered. Those in need of legal assistance are in the main the marginalised in society; indigenous people, rural communities, women and children.
Alekto believes that genuine peace will never be achieved without an accessible legal system to deliver justice and uphold the rule of law. A healthily functioning legal system serves as a deterrent to violence, and offers hope to those seeking justice.
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