Colombia + 2 more

Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) Colombia (ECHO/COL/BUD/2013/91000) - Last update: 25/10/2012 Version 1

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The activities proposed hereafter are still subject to the adoption of the financing decision ECHO/WWD/BUD/2013/01000


Despite growing political ambitions and economic growth, Colombia still faces the consequences of an armed conflict involving several illegal armed groups and the Colombian armed forces. Colombia's internal conflict continued during 2011 and the first half of 2012.

Guerrilla groups - Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) - have scaled up the number of armed actions against armed forces and infrastructures in 2011 and the first half of 2012. The rise of new illegal armed groups (Bandas Criminales, "BACRIM") that are present in urban fringes of some big cities and rural zones continues to be a concern. All illegal armed groups are mostly self-financed through drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and other illegal activities.

The internal conflict is particularly acute in remote rural areas of peripheral departments of Colombia including Nariño, Cauca, Valle, Chocó, Norte de Santander, Cordoba, Putumayo, Caquetá, Guaviare, Meta and Arauca. Colombian armed forces maintain their fight against both types of illegal armed groups (guerrilla and emergent armed groups). Strikes against their leaders and members are announced frequently, but although weakened, Colombia’s leftist FARC and ELN guerrillas can probably not be defeated by military force alone.

The main humanitarian consequences of the Colombian armed conflict are forced displacement (internal displaced people -IDPs and refugees) and restrictions to mobility of people, goods and services. As reported by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012, the continuing high level of violence and the persistence of the internal armed conflict have serious humanitarian consequences for civilians. Colombia is the country of the world with the second highest IDP population and the trend continues. In 2011 between 145,000 and 308,000 people became newly displaced and similar figures can be expected in 2012. UNCHR reported that the total "population of concern" in Colombia for the organisation had reached 4.326.851 people; the highest worldwide. In addition, there are 62,745 missing persons in Colombia, of whom 16,884 people are estimated to have suffered forced disappearances.

Almost two years after taking office, President Santos has launched some ambitious initiatives that have the potential to heal some of the wounds the conflict has opened. These include legislation on reparation for the victims of the conflict and the restitution of land appropriated illegally, as well as an addendum to the Constitution to facilitate transitional justice process. Santos’ reforms are taking place against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict. However, secret exploratory conversations with the FARC since early 2012 led the signature of a framework agreement and the launch of formal peace talks in mid-October. The next months will bring more clarity on the success chances of the talks, and thus of the potential start of a process that could, eventually contribute to the solution of the conflict. The current negotiations do not include a ceasefire, hostilities between armed forces and FARC continue.

As part of the new Victim’s Law, major institutional changes to the government bodies responsible for social support are currently taking place with the breakup of the “Accion Social” (the governmental agency in charge of assisting IDPs) and the creation of a completely new institutional set up, i.e. "Departamento para la Prosperidad Social". The setup of a new institution has resulted in setbacks in the registration and assistance for new IDPs in 2012 and this situation may continue in 2013.

Colombia continues to be a forgotten crisis, given the limited international attention to its humanitarian crisis and low funding for humanitarian actions.