Colombia: OCHA Humanitarian Situation Report 17 – 30 Jul 2007

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) <>
Date: 30 Jul y 2007 


Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities are at high risk of mass displacement due to minefields, armed confrontations and forced recruitment.

600 members of the AWA indigenous community are under pressure by FARC due to probable minefields planted throughout their reservations in the town of Ricaurte. The indigenous inhabit a zone where constant armed confrontations are registered, therefore facing a high risk situation. Between July 14 and 15, five members of the indigenous group (two children among them) died by minefield accidents within the Magüí reservation. After the accidents, the Ombudsman of Nariño department reported a mass displacement of indigenous families from Magüí reservation into neighbouring rural areas and the urban area of Ricaurte. This preliminary information known by OCHA still lacks the number of indigenous families currently displaced. However, the Ombudsman’s Office reported a food shortage in the communities, and a humanitarian mission of AWA authorities arrived in Ricaurte on July 21 to meet with their affected fellows. The Local Committee for IDPs’ Integral Assistance is evaluating the situation to determine the needs for humanitarian assistance. Acción Social also sent a representative to area. It is worth pointing-out that AWA indigenous communities had recently returned after a mass displacement in 2006.

On the other hand, OCHA’s Field Office in Cali was informed of the increase of forced recruitment of afro-Colombians in the town of Olaya Herrera, located in the Pacific Coast. 16 new cases of forced recruitment were registered during last week in a rural area of this municipality, where the Catholic Church and UNHCR conduct community-based protection initiatives.

Meanwhile, UNHCR reported last week that an undetermined non-Sate armed actor is engaging in continuous attempts to enter urban areas in the town of Ipiales (in the highlands of Nariño). According to the source, nearly 8,500 persons are currently at high risk.

UNHCHR and the Early Warning System of the Ombudsman’s Office are visiting the municipality regularly as a “protection-by-presence” prevention measure and UNHCR will conduct a registration campaign among the population.


110 displaced from rural Condoto

The event was reported by the Early Warning System of the Ombudsman’s Office on July 27. Victims would have fled from their homes (southeast Chocó) because of armed confrontations and military operations against FARC. OCHA monitors this preliminary information.


New cases of forced recruitment in Meta and Sucre departments reported.

The Navy Infantry informed to have intercepted a boat travelling to Puerto Gaitán municipality (Meta) along the Meta River where a “new emerging band” was transporting a group of 15 youngsters forcibly recruited in the Urabá region (July 25). The second case occurred in the city of Sincelejo (capital of Sucre). According to information received by OCHA’s Field Office (July 24 – 30), 19 men are reported missing. They were presumably recruited by an undetermined non-State armed actor. Even though later on 4 of them returned, people in Sincelejo are reluctant to denounce kidnappings and recruitment by fear of reprisals.

Furthermore, concerns about children and youth forced recruitment in Colombia increase as reported by the inter-institutional working group against children and youth participation in Colombia’s armed conflict “Colombia Coalition” (comprised by national and international NGOs). The group presented its formal report to the Human Right’s Inter-American Commission (July 13), which focused its analysis on children’s recruitment and demobilisation in the negotiation between the Government of Colombia and paramilitary groups. While pointing-out there are no official figures, the report indicates there would be an estimate of 13,000 children (1 in 4 combatants under age 18).


60,000 people with restricted access to health services due to armed pressure.

2 major healthcare companies in Arauca suspended the provision of medical services in the towns of Arauquita, Saravena and Fortúl claiming armed pressure from ELN (July 18). Both companies cover 80% of the departmental population; 40% (60,000) settled in the affected towns. The Social Protection Ministry called upon the Defense Ministry to take protection measures for the companies’ workers. Consequently, the Army Brigade in Arauca increased military presence to reinforce security in these towns.


Read the complete report at Informe completo como archivo pdf adjunto. <>

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