Gaining independence from Spain in 1810, Colombia is a country in the northern part of South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. The country shares land borders with Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. Its capital is Bogota. Colombia covers an area of 1,138,910 square kilometers. In 2022, the country has an estimated population of about 49 million people, making it the second most populous state in South America after Brazil. Colombia is a middle-income country and one of the oldest democracies in Latin America.
The humanitarian situation
Six years after the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was signed, the humanitarian situation in Colombia is still marked by large scale internal displacement and insecurity due to armed violence. The country has endured half a century of intense armed conflict, perpetuated by widespread illegal drug production and trafficking and rooted in territorial control by armed groups. The increased impact of natural hazards related to climate change and the integration of 2.5 million Venezuelan refugees are also driving humanitarian needs in Colombia.
As of 2022, there were 5.2 million internally displaced persons. More than 142,000 Colombian refugees and some 68,000 asylum seekers are hosted in third countries. Nearly 110,000 people have been displaced or confined by the armed conflict in 2021 alone. In 2022, high levels of violence have worsened the humanitarian crisis in some regions. In the first half of this year, tens of thousands of people were uprooted by large scale displacement or confined in their communities by violence involving illegal armed groups.
Colombia is the country most impacted by the Venezuela crisis, hosting some 2.5 million of the 6.8 million Venezuelans who have sought refuge outside their country. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 7.7 million people in Colombia will need humanitarian assistance in 2022; among them are 2.4 million children.
The security situation
After four years of formal peace negotiations, the Colombian government signed in November 2016 a final peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which was subsequently ratified by the Colombian Congress. The peace agreement calls for members of the FARC to demobilize, disarm, and reincorporate into society and politics. The demobilization of the largest rebel group and the formation of a new political party are some of the most important results of the peacebuilding process. The Truth Commission, established in 2016 as part of the peace agreement, published its final report on June 28, 2022. The 800-page document addresses human rights violations and events during the armed conflict between 1986 and 2016.
However, armed groups, including the National Liberation Army (ELN), dissidents of the FARC, paramilitary successor groups and drug-trafficking gangs continue to operate in the country. Civilians in various parts of Colombia suffer serious human rights abuses at the hands of those armed groups. In the shadow of the FARC and the Colombian government peace accord other irregular armed groups increased their actions, particularly in rural areas. These armed groups are competing for territorial control and illicit economies in territories previously controlled by the FARC. Violent clashes between the new armed groups are causing the majority of new humanitarian needs.
The ELN rebel group is the nation's largest remaining guerrilla organization. Recently, Colombia's government and the ELN agreed to restart peace talks in November 2022. The United Nations commended the decision and urged both parties to seize the opportunity to bring an end to a deadly conflict whose resolution is critical for expanding the scope of peace in Colombia. On November 21, a first round of peace negotiations began.
Despite decades of internal conflict and security challenges related to illicit economies, Colombia maintains rather strong and independent democratic institutions. In August 2022, the country saw a peaceful transition to the newly elected president Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego. The Colombian government is working to re-establish state control in various areas through an approach combining security as well as economic and social development.
Your donation for the Colombia emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
There are currently few active appeals for the Colombia crisis. You may also consider an un-earmarked donation to organizations that are active in the country or an earmarked donation for the Venezuela refugee crisis.
- International Organization for Migration (IOM): Donate
- International Rescue Committee (IRC): Colombia
- UNHCR: Venezuela emergency
- Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC): Colombia
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): Colombia conflict
- World Food Programme (WFP): Colombia
- Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): Colombia
- Save the Children US: Colombia
- ACAPS: Colombia complex crisis
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): Colombia
- UN OCHA: Colmbia
- Human Rights Watch: World Report 2022: Colombia
- Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC): Colombia
- International Crisis Group: Colombia
- International Organization for Migration (IOM): Colombia Crisis Response Plan 2022