War and the Right to Health in Colombia: A Case Study of the Department of Nariño

Carlos Iván Pacheco Sánchez


This paper reviews compliance with the right to health in Colombia following the reform of the Colombian health system in 1993. A case study in the department of Nariño shows the differential effects of war on the guarantee of the right to health of Colombians. The poorest, most vulnerable populations are affected by war and suffer the greatest violation of their right to health. Violations of human rights, including the right to health, are greatest among poor homes, ethnic groups, sexual minorities and all those living in areas where war is at its most intense. Moreover, the social security health care system’s philosophy and organization have enabled illegal armed agents, mainly the paramilitary, to appropriate and manage health resources and use them for their own ends.

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