ColombiaOne.comColombia newsForced Displacement Continued in Colombia During 2023

Forced Displacement Continued in Colombia During 2023

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According to an annual report, Colombia had 293,000 forced internal displacements in 2023, with a historical accumulation of 5.07 million – Credit: Resurgir Foundation / CC BY-SA 3.0

Forced internal displacement continued in Colombia during 2023. The drama of the internal war continues to ravage the country, and during the past year, over five million internally displaced persons were registered as a result of the armed conflict. This figure represents an increase of 5.6 percent compared to 2022.

According to a report on movements due to conflicts and disasters by the NGOs Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), in 2023 there were a total of 5.07 million people who were forced to leave their territories to other areas of the country due to armed activity.

With these data, Colombia remains one of the countries with the most internally displaced people due to conflict in the world, only behind Sudan (9.1 million), Syria (7.2 million) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (6.7 million).

Forced internal displacement continues in Colombia

In 2023 there were a total of 293,000 forcibly displaced persons, a figure significantly lower than the 339,000 in 2022. However, the cumulative total sum of displacements continues to increase.

According to the two entities that carried out the study, it is thanks to the cease-fires that the State agreed with illegal armed groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Central General Staff (EMC) during the last year, that violent episodes and their effects on the civilian population decreased in 2023. The drop in the number of violent episodes due to the cease-fires was documented as 33% in the whole country.

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Illegal armed groups continue to provoke forced internal displacement – Credit: X.com / @FARCEP_

Choco, Narino and Valle del Cauca, where there is most displacement

As has become traditional, the Pacific coast area is where most people were affected by violence, in particular the departments of Choco, Narino and Valle del Cauca. Clashes between different illegal armed groups for control of drug trafficking routes, illegal mining and logging of natural resources had a significant impact on the civilian population.

Afro-descendants and indigenous people, who live in rural areas of these regions, are the ones who suffered the most severely from the attacks, being forced to abandon their homes and properties in search of safer places.

However, there were other areas where forced movements also increased. Departments such as Antioquia, Bolivar and Putumayo surpassed their 2022 records in this regard.

Temporary displacements due to natural disasters

Forced displacements due to natural disasters also increased, although in this case they were temporary. According to the NGO report, in 2023 a total of 351 thousand people had to leave their homes because of these disasters, an increase of 25 percent compared to 2022.

Weather disasters, storms, floods, but also forest fires, were responsible for these events, which mainly affected three departments: La Guajira, Bolivar and Arauca. In the first of these, the situation was particularly serious, as the drought was followed by floods caused by heavy rains, forcing the government to declare an ecological emergency zone.

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Rains in La Guajira also caused internal displacement in Colombia – Credit: X.com / UNGRD

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