Colombia: Large-Group Internal Displacement, January to July 2021


From January until July 81 large-group displacements occurred in which more than 13,270 families (39,958 individuals) were displaced. These figures represent an increase of 142% in the number of people displaced in comparison the same period in 2020.

In July, seven large-group displacements occurred in the departments of Cauca (3), Nariño (2), Antioquia (1) and Valle del Cauca (1) in which 2,197 families (5,540 individuals) were displaced. The causes associated with these events are mainly clashes between illegal armed actors, threats to leaders and communities, and the presence of antipersonnel mines/unexploded ordnance (APM/UXO). Small-sale farmers were the most affected, constituting 87% of the total displaced population for this month.

The continuing deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Antioquia is of particular concern as there have been 15 large-group displacement events, already having surpassed the 13 which had occurred at the same period in 2020, in which 6,545 people have been displaced. In July, 4,041 people from the municipality of Ituango were displaced as a result of clashes between illegal armed actors and threats and intimidation. This is the first time since 2010 that there has been an emergency of this magnitude.

UNHCR's response to displacement in Ituango has included: participation in institutional spaces (CJT, National Subcommittee on Prevention, Protection and Guarantees of Non-Repetition) and bilateral meetings with the Victims Unit and municipal authorities to identify main protection risks and response needs.

Additionally, UNHCR provided emergency assistance in the form of thermal blankets, hygiene kits, baby kits, diapers, mats and pillows, benefiting approximately 1,000 people. Given the impact of displacement on educational facilities, advocacy was carried out with local authorities to adapt institutions to the emergency; and roads will be improved in some parts of the municipality to mitigate the impact of future displacements.