Colombia’s 40-year internal conflict between paramilitaries, guerilla groups and the Colombian army has created a massive number of internally displaced people (IDPs), with almost 4 million forced from their homes since 1985. Increasing numbers are fleeing their homes in several regions of the country at the rate of more than 200,000 a year and continue to face serious vulnerability. The Colombian Government must give greater priority to supporting IDP organizations and their leadership.
Current Humanitarian Situation
The Colombian government is pursuing increasingly aggressive counterinsurgent and counternarcotics policy, engaging illegal armed groups in more remote locations. New narco-groups composed of former paramilitary personnel and common criminals are competing with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and ELN (National Liberation Army) for the control of coca cultivation, harvesting and processing areas and strategic corridors to take the coca to international markets. These illegal groups assert territorial control by engaging in acts of terror, including the use of selective assassinations in order to maintain strict control over communities.
Refugees International has found that the large numbers of newly displaced people are overwhelming the capacity of the government and humanitarian agencies. Their ability to respond is widely varied, depending on the level of preparation, experience gained through previous displacements, and the availability of resources and political will to provide services. Local administrations already have enormously strained budgets and capacity, and the remoteness of the areas where displacements frequently occur also complicates the humanitarian response.
Returning home is ultimately the most desirable option for displaced Colombians, but it is rarely a safe or sustainable option given the deteriorating security conditions. With few exceptions, initiatives for returns are generally conducted in areas still contested by illegal armed groups and located near illicit crop cultivation. Violence and lack of government support plagues many returnees.
Local administrations in areas of high risk of forced displacement should urgently increase their budgets for humanitarian assistance, train humanitarian personnel and develop prevention and protection plans with clear operational and implementation directives.
11/16/2009Las mujeres y niñas colombianas desplazadas son las estoicas sobrevivientes del conflicto que persiste en el país. Frustradas por la desidia de las autoridades, las organizaciones de mujeres desplazadas presentaron múltiples peticiones a la Corte Constitucional, que ordenó al Gobierno de Colombia que llevara ante la justicia a los perpetradores de actos de violencia sexual y que formulara programas para proteger a las mujeres desplazadas y atender sus necesidades socioeconómicas. Es hora de que el Gobierno de Colombia dé prioridad al cumplimiento de las órdenes judiciales. El Gobierno de Estados Unidos debería aprovechar la oportunidad que le ofrece su estrecha relación con el Gobierno de Colombia para impulsar enérgicamente el pleno cumplimiento de la orden y proporcionar ayuda y recursos con el propósito de facilitar esa tarea.
11/16/2009Displaced Colombian women and girls are the resilient survivors of the ongoing conflict inside the country. Frustrated by continued neglect from the authorities, displaced women’s organizations successfully petitioned the Constitutional Court, which ordered the Colombian government to bring to justice perpetrators of sexual violence and devise programs attending to the protection and socio-economic needs of displaced women. It is time for the government of Colombia to prioritize the implementation of the court orders. The U.S. government should take the opportunity of its close relationship with its Colombian counterpart to strongly encourage full compliance and provide help and resources to facilitate that task.
Being forcibly displaced because of violence and conflict is an experience that millions of Colombians have lived through for over four decades. While all Colombian society is permeated by this traumatic reality, displacement is mainly hitting those living in rural areas with devastating impact on the lives of campesino, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.
Luchando para un Futuro Mejor: Mejorando las Condiciones de Vida de los Desplazados Internos en Colombia11/28/2007El desplazamiento forzado producto de la violencia y el conflicto es una experiencia que millones de colombianos han afrontado por más de cuatro décadas. Aunque la sociedad colombiana en su totalidad se ha visto perjudicada por esta traumática realidad, son aquellos viviendo en las zonas rurales quienes se han sido mayormente afectados por el desplazamiento, el cual ha tenido un impacto devastador en las vidas de comunidades campesinas, indígenas y afrocolombianas.