Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Feb 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Medellin sees alarming rise in displacement

Colombia news - Comuna 13

The city of Medellin is in the throes of an alarming rise in forced displacement. According to the local ombudsman, 2010 saw a 130% rise in cases compared to the previous year and January of 2011 saw a 44% increase compared to the same month in 2009.

{japopup type=”image” content=”pics/2011/02/comunas2.jpg” title=”Forced displacement in Medellin”}Medellin's comunas{/japopup}

According to a report by the ombudsman, 5,962 people were forced to leave their homes by local gangs in 2010.

The most affected neighborhood was the western Comuna 13, where 1,473 residents were forced to leave. The northeastern Comunas 1 and 3 and the eastern Comunas 7 and 8 followed in the list of the worst-affected areas.

In January of this year, 396 persons more than in the same period last year were displaced.

Some 52% of the displaced are minors who in many cases have to leave their neighborhood to avoid being recruited by the local gang. The Ombudsman’s Office also stressed that a lot of women are forced to leave their neighborhood by threats of sexual abuse.

The majority of victims of inter-city displacement do not receive government support, because officially there is no conflict situation in Medellin and the forced displacement is not caused by any of the recognized illegal armed groups, Medellin Ombudsman Hernan Vargas told Colombia Reports.

Vargas said he was negative about a possible improvement in the situation in the coming months. To achieve this, local authorities must increase their presence in the poor slums to protect the civilians, he said.