Constant fighting and the drugs trade have turned Colombia into one of the world’s worst humanitarian areas. More than 5 million people have been forced to flee their homes and thousands have been left dead. The conflict has been ongoing for 50 years, and involves several armed groups. Local people, including rural indigenous, afro-Colombian and vulnerable communities are often caught in the crossfire, becoming victims of the fighting through violence and being forced off their land.
The 1990s was a terrible time for Colombia. It became one of the most violent places on the planet with the Cali and Medellin drug cartels continually clashing with the government and police. During this time around 3,500 people were kidnapped a year, leading Colombia to be referred to as the kidnap capital of the world.
Colombia is one of the world’s most unequal countries. Recognised as a middle income country, and seen as one of the new “emerging” markets, due to the development of mining and agribusiness mega-projects, 45% of Colombians remain poor. In fact, in rural areas such as Chocó, poverty is deepening.
Tell me something about Colombia….
- The country has a population of 44.7 million
- The drugs trade continues to harm potential growth of tourism and makes it difficult for communities to develop
- Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities are often treated unfairly
- SCIAF partner COCOMOPOCA received rights to their communal land in 2011, after a 12 year struggle which SCIAF has supported for the last 3 years
- Lloró in Colombia is thought to be the wettest place on earth