HomeNewsBriefColombia Leads the World in Displacement Due to Conflict and Organized Crime
BRIEF

Colombia Leads the World in Displacement Due to Conflict and Organized Crime

COLOMBIA / 1 MAY 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Colombia continues to have the world's largest internally displaced population, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), with hundreds of thousands displaced in 2012 by the country's internal conflict and the activities of organized crime groups.

By the end of 2012, the Colombian government had registered 4.9 million people as displaced, of which 230,000 were displaced that year. However, the IDMC report that the true figure is much higher due to a backlog in registering people for the Victims and Land Restitution Law and because the government does not record people displaced by the paramilitary successor groups known as the BACRIM ("bandas criminales" or criminal bands).

The report identifies fighting between the security forces and guerrilla groups, urban conflicts between competing gangs and trafficking organizations, threats against communities and community leaders, forced recruitment and pressure to take part in illegal mining as the main drivers of displacement.

According to the UNHCR estimates cited, there were 137 mass displacements in 2012 -- twice as many as in 2011 -- in which over 9,000 families were forced out of their homes. Most of the mass displacements were caused by BACRIM groups.

There was also a surge in intra-urban displacement, as people were forced to flee their homes in cities such as Medellin and Buenaventura because of rising violence linked to turf wars between criminal groups.

Displacement was highest in the departments of Antioquia, Nariño, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, and Córdoba.

InSight Crime Analysis

The IDMC report highlights how Colombia's conflict continues to cause mass misery in rural areas despite the weakening of the guerrillas in recent years and the peace talks currently underway in Cuba.

However, it also highlights how much of internal displacement in Colombia is not directly related to the conflict but to organized crime and the BACRIM, underlining how displacement will not cease to be an issue if the conflict comes to an end. 

Read the full report here [PDF].

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 7 NOV 2016

The recent surrender of several gang members in Colombia is raising questions about the application of a legal reform meant…

COLOMBIA / 21 OCT 2011

In a long-expected development, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that Peru has surpassed Colombia to become the…

COLOMBIA / 20 JAN 2016

Authorities have arrested the leader of a criminal group whose operations in southwestern Colombia may become a model for elements of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…