Bogota police barricaded a building with about 300 displaced
inside on Tuesday. The refugees, who were moved from Parque Tercer Milenio to
the building by Bogota’s administration in May, had refused to leave
the building because they say that they have not received the
government aid which they were promised.
Security forces initially attempted to evict the group from the temporary accommodation in the center of Colombia’s capital.
According to one displacee, riot police arrived
while many residents were attending a training course that the
displaced must complete in order to be eligible for Productive Project
payments, a scheme that helps refugees to establish a new business.
Residents remain barricaded inside the temporary accommodation, as
police continue to prevent anyone from leaving the building. Residents
who were attending the training course have been allowed to re-enter
the building since Wednesday morning.
The displaced — who were covered by the 30 July agreement between
Bogota, the national government and leaders of the displaced community
that required displaced to evacuate Parque Tercer Milenio in order to
receive government assistance — had refused to leave the temporary
accommodation because of Accion Social’s failure to fulfill their
obligations as specified in the agreement.
According to the displacees, approximately 40 of them have still not
received any humanitarian aid from Accion Social and many others have
received less than the amount that was agreed upon. Displacees are also
concerned that the agreement contains an escape clause that will allow
the government to indefinitely defer Productive Project payments.
The group of displacees in temporary accommodation were originally
part of the protest in Parque Tercer Milenio, but in May had accepted
an offer from Bogota’s administration to leave the park in return for
an accelerated resolution of their concerns.