Of the 4.9 million Colombians that have been forcefully displaced in the last 25 years, 2.4 million were displaced under the presidency of Alvaro Uribe and his “Democratic Security” policy, according to a recently published report.
The report, published by Codhes, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the study of Colombia’s armed conflict, was released on Wednesday at a press conference aimed at analyzing Uribe’s “Democratic Security” policy, which has been a focal point of his presidency.
At the press conference, the director of Codhes, Jorge Enrique Rojas, claimed that in 2009 alone, “about 286,389 people were displaced,” reported Colombian newspaper El Espectador.
2009 saw a 24% drop in the amount of displaced Colombians compared to the 2008 record high of 380,863 people forcibly displaced.
While this represents an improvement, it still indicates a grave situation facing Colombia today, Rojas went on to explain, “clearly there is progress in some sectors of society, but not for the entire population, which calls into question the entire policy of ‘Democratic Security’.”
According to the report, the Colombian departments most affected have been Choco, Nariño, Antioquia, Cordoba, Cauca, Arauca, Valle del Cauca, Risaralda, Bolívar, Cesar, Meta and Guajira.
Nariño, the report went on to explain, has seen the worst of it, “registering 56% of the total amount of mass displacement events.”
The department of Nariño is located on the boarder with Ecuador, and is home to the majority of Colombia’s indigenous communities. It is the area most affected by Colombia’s internal conflict, and has been the host to constant battles between the Colombian military and the FARC rebels.
The “Democratic Security” policy, implemented in 2003, has operated under the objectives of: widening the territory under the direct control of the central government and denying access of land to illegally armed groups; protecting population centers with the presence of security forces; and dismantling the flow of drugs and cutting down on revenues used to support illegally armed groups.
While much has been accomplished under the policy, many critics and opponents argue that it has ignored the social costs incurred through its application, and exposes Colombian civilians to danger and other human rights abuses, such as the forced displacement, as cited by the Codhes report.