The conflict in Colombia has displaced more than 5 million people, making it one of the largest displacement crises in the world. Armed groups associated with drug trafficking in addition to guerilla and paramilitary groups continue to contribute to displacement, as well as natural disasters. The conflict has disproportionately affected Afro-Colombians and indigenous communities. In addition to the large numbers displaced inside Colombia, an estimated 200,000 Colombians are currently seeking safety in Ecuador, an impoverished country that is also home to the largest refugee population in Latin America.
There are significant unmet humanitarian needs inside Colombia and among the refugees in Ecuador. UNHCR's 2011 funding request to assist the displaced inside Colombia of over $33 million was only 51% funded and the over $21 million funding request to provide vital assistance to Colombian refugees in Ecuador was similarly only 52% funded. As displacement has increased over the years, displaced Colombians have fallen deeper into poverty. The U.S. should take all possible steps to ensure that humanitarian assistance is more reflective of the magnitude of the crisis inside Colombia and among refugees in neighboring Ecuador, as well as support durable solutions for Colombian refugees.
For more information, please see these resources:
Colombia: Transformation Change Must Include Urban IDPs, Refugees International
Colombia Internal Displacement Profile, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
Surviving Alone, Refugees International
Living on the Edge: Colombian Refugees in Panama and Ecuador, Refugee Council USA
Click here for the Spanish translation
Building Momentum for Land Restitution, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
Ending Colombia's FARC Conflict: Dealing the Right Card, International Crisis Group
Photo credits: JRS USA/S. Aber