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Kidnapping is booming business. A lucrative political instrument for armed groups operating in conflict zones

Published:
1 July 2008
Region:
Global
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Kidnapping is booming business. A lucrative political instrument for armed groups operating in conflict zones

The emphasis of this report is on kidnapping and extortion in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. it examines how the kidnapping issue has developed in these countries in the past ten years, and whether there was any relationship between the kidnapping practices in Colombia, and trends in this crime in the neighbouring countries. Another primary question regarding Colombia was concerned with the role of the kidnapping theme in peace talks and other dialogue between illegal armed groups and the Colombian government, and with the possible role of the theme in any future peace talks.
The final chapter investigates the kidnapping-related policies of the EU member states, and as far as possible compare their policies with their actions in practice in recent years. Two topics dominate the international debate about kidnapping: whether governments, companies and NGOs should actually concede to kidnappers’ economic or political demands; and insurance against kidnapping and extortion. Many EU member states base their formal policy on the principle that kidnappers’ demands should not be met. However, there are several striking discrepancies between the official nonpayment policy and how European member states resolve kidnapping cases abroad in practice.

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