Internal Displacement in Colombia

In December 2011 the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) produced a report on the Colombian government’s efforts to protect and assist the more than 5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). The report looked specifically at the Santos administration’s lack of tangible action for improving the human rights conditions for IDPs.

The IDMC reports, “Colombia’s government, led since 2010 by President Juan Manuel Santos, has changed its discourse in favor of those who have suffered human rights violations due the conflict and violence within the country. However, it is yet to translate this into effective action to protect the rights of Colombia’s internally displaced people (IDPs) and other victims of conflict”

As the article explains, Colombia is currently home to the largest population of internally displaced peoples in the world. Many reforms have been promised but people continue to be displaced and suffer from human rights abuses. In 2010, when he took office President Santos promised a change in favor for those suffering from human rights violations due to violence and conflict. However, a year after Santos took office, the Observatory on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), the leading NGO monitoring displacement in Colombia, announced that nearly 89,000 people had been displaced in the first half of the year.

In June of 2011, the Colombian government passed legislation which became known as the “Victims’ Law.” The Victims’ Law was created to compensate roughly four million victims of the conflict. Provisions in the law included the restitution of land to IDPs. Unfortunately these provisions are yet to be realized. A report by the Colombian court indicated that in 2010 and 2011, access to certain rights; housing, income and emergency assistance still remained difficult, with only ten per cent of IDPs receiving these services. On December 1, 2011, a financing plan was created that will set aside $500 million for property restitution for IDPs. Secondary legislation is also being drafted and approved to help regulate the Victims’ Law. It is yet to be seen whether these new plans will tangibly benefit victims of the armed conflict.

Read the full report by the IDMC.

Participate in the Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia and advocate for the victims of the armed conflict.

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