Colombia has the seventh highest number of registered refugees living outside its borders, according to a recent report from the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR).
Between 1997 and 2011, about 3.9 million Colombians were forcibly displaced from their homes due to violence from the country’s 48-year internal conflict, the report said. Of those, some 395,000 live outside of Colombia, including 282,300 people that reportedly live in refugee-like situations in Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama.
Colombia posts the second-highest number of internally displaced persons in the world after Sudan, with an estimated 3.6 million citizens forcibly removed from their homes since 1997. The report notes that in 2011, about 143,000 Colombians were displaced due to violence.
Ecuador has the largest refugee population in Latin America including some 56,000 Colombians, who represent approximately 98% of the country’s refugee population, according to the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.
Ecuador “is the country in Latin America with the greatest number of refugees and has a permanent attitude of solidarity with those who solicit protection,” declared Guterres in Quito while visiting for World Refugee Day on June 20.
He said in a press conference that the UNHCR decided to celebrate the commemorative day this year in Ecuador to recognize the Ecuadorian people and government for the role the country “has always had in the protection of refugees.”