HomeNewsBriefInternal Displacement Decreases Dramatically in Colombia
BRIEF

Internal Displacement Decreases Dramatically in Colombia

COLOMBIA / 4 FEB 2016 BY ELISE DITTA EN

The number of internally displaced persons (IDP) in Colombia decreased dramatically in 2015, but territorial disputes in the criminal world may mean the end of forced displacement is not in sight.

During 2015, some 166,000 people were forcibly displaced in Colombia according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates. This is a 33 percent decrease from 2014. According to OCHA, organized crime groups (which the Colombian government calls criminal bands, or BACRIM), unidentified armed groups and groups other than guerrillas were responsible for 53 percent of the victims of forced displacements. Guerrilla groups caused 47 percent of IDPs.

Of the 166,000 people displaced, 13,950 suffered from mass displacement, which is defined as an event affecting more than 50 people or 10 families. According to OCHA, mass displacements remained steady from 2014 to 2015, although the primary actors responsible for displacement shifted, as seen in the chart below. Since the last ceasefire declaration by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), there have been no reported mass displacements related to FARC unilateral actions, the report said.

At the same time, according to OCHA, "social control measures" -- extortion, death threats, assassinations, movement restrictions and restrictions on access to basic goods and services -- remain on the rise. According to official figures, during 2015 there were 5,304 cases of extortion, 416 more than in 2014.

Insight Crime Analysis

Colombia has previously been identified as home to the world's second highest number of internally displaced people. Although it is encouraging to see a decrease in forced displacement -- largely fueled by a FARC ceasefire -- this phenomenon will likely continue in Colombia due to disputes over natural resource extraction, drug routes, and urban territory.

   SEE ALSO: Colombia News and Profile

A recent displacement of 422 people in the Colombian department of Antioquia may be indicative of this type of territorial dispute -- according to Verdad Abierta the displacement resulted from a conflict between the National Liberation Army (ELN), the FARC and the Urabeños, regarding control of drug routes and illegal gold mining in the area.

Additionally, urban crime is known to drive displacement, especially in the city of Medellin. As the criminal underworld is shaken by a FARC demobilization, increased turf wars in urban areas could also result in people abandoning their homes and moving elsewhere. And if extortion is indeed on the rise, this could also spur internal displacement within Colombia's cities. 

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 / 11 JAN 2018

US authorities have issued new security warnings for individuals traveling to several Latin American countries, thereby implicitly admitting to failures…

COLOMBIA / 24 SEP 2012

The fall of Daniel "El Loco" Barrera has left his drug empire in Colombia's Eastern Plains up for…

COCA / 17 MAR 2017

In our March 16 Facebook Live videocast, InSight Crime Senior Investigators Deborah Bonello and Héctor Silva Ávalos, and Senior Editor…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…