Colombia: Desperate need for aid as confinements escalate in Segovia municipality, trapping nearly 3,500

Published 13. Feb 2024
After clashes in the northeastern Antioquia Department, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) urgently calls on armed actors to take concrete steps to halt forced confinements of communities and ensure access for humanitarian actors to provide aid.

 “The confined families live in a cycle of permanent fear and distress, unable to move freely and without access to basic services or goods such as food, education and health. We reiterate our call for all parties to the conflict to formally agree to end these inhumane practices, respect international humanitarian law and allow immediate access for humanitarian aid,” said Giovanni Rizzo, NRC’s country director in Colombia.  

 In the first weeks of 2024, a series of clashes led to a dramatic increase in confinements in Segovia municipality, with close to 3,500 people forced to remain in their homes. This is a widespread practice in Colombia whereby non-state armed actors exert control over whole territories and communities by violating people’s rights to move freely.  

In the recent escalation, communities in the villages of Rancho Quemado, El Aguacate, La Manuela, Arenales, and the indigenous community Tagual La Po, have been subjected to forced confinement by armed groups, along with ongoing security threats, according to preliminary data from the UN and local authorities. 

The Tagual La Po Indigenous community has been significantly impacted by the conflict for an extended period, enduring confinements throughout most of 2023. The escalation of the armed conflict in Antioquia state is connected to the increasing instability across the Bolívar and Antioquia departments. 

Despite a peace agreement being signed in 2016 and the positive agreements achieved in the current peace negotiations, armed conflict in Colombia continues unabated across large swathes of Colombia with frequent reports of forced confinements of rural communities, often lasting for months at a time. 

"The situation in Segovia is not an isolated event. Forced confinements have been on the rise throughout 2023 and show no signs of decreasing in 2024. Remote communities enduring the ongoing, devastating repercussions of these restrictions on movement deserve immediate reinstatement of their rights to protection and humanitarian assistance," said Rizzo. 

Note to editors: 

  • 3,500 new confinements have been reported in the first weeks of 2024, according to preliminary data from UN OCHA and local authorities. 
  • Colombia remains in the top five list of countries with the highest number of displaced people in the world with 4.8 million people.  
  • NRC Colombia gratefully acknowledges fundings for its emergency humanitarian response from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), European Union (ECHO). 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:  

  • Ana Milena Ayala, Advocacy and Communication Officer:, +57 323 274 6021