Read caption Since the peace agreement signing between FARC-EP and the government in November 2016, over 150,000 people have been displaced – the equivalent of one person every 4 minutes. Photo: Ana Karina Delgado/NRC.

As Colombia prepares for elections, thousands suffer from violence

Published 22. May 2018
The candidates in Colombia’s presidential election must make victims of ongoing violence their top priority, argues the Norwegian Refugee Council.

On 27 May, the first stage of the presidential election in Colombia will kick off. 

“It should be a top priority and obligation for the new President to end the massive suffering across Colombia, and ensure peace talks lead to concrete results,” said Christian Visnes, country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Colombia.

Since the peace agreement signing between FARC-EP and the government in November 2016, over 150,000 people have been displaced – the equivalent of one person every 4 minutes. 

In addition, Colombia is witnessing alarming levels of abuse by armed groups, including disappearances, sexual violence and child recruitment. 

“Despite the peace agreement, people continue to be displaced from their homes, and lose their belongings, their land and livelihoods. Many have lost close family members, friends and neighbours to the violence. How much longer must we wait before we see an end to this conflict?” asked Christian Visnes.

“I was displaced, but I don't want to go back because there is a lot of violence and I don't want to expose my children to the dangers,” a newly displaced mother of two told NRC. She is one of over 10,000 people recently displaced in Catatumbo, a region located north-east of Colombia. 

Over 7.3 million people are internally displaced in Colombia today. Already vulnerable, many displaced become victims of deliberate attacks, threats, forced recruitments and killings perpetrated by some seven armed groups who continue to openly challenge international humanitarian law. 

Note to editors
  • NRC Country Director, Christian Visnes, is available for interviews in English, Spanish and Norwegian. 
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