Colombia displacement statistics

More than 7 million people were displaced during Colombia’s armed conflict, according to the National Victims Registry.

Before this government agency took charge of maintaining the registry of conflict victims, NGO CODHES was commissioned by the country’s Constitutional Court to register the gravity of victimization through forced displacement.

Nevertheless, the mere scope of the victimization, a lack of documentation and the changing modality of the conflict make it impossible to produce general statistics.

Forced displacement per year

Forced displacement became a growing issue after the formation of paramilitary group in the Antioquia province in 1995, the year former President Alvaro Uribe became governor and legalized so-called “Convivir” groups. Between then and 2010, 15% of Colombia’s entire national territory was abandoned.

Source: National Victims Registry

Why people were displaced in 2002

At the height of the tragedy, in 2002, mass displacement in Colombia was not due to war or combat, but because farmers were threatened. Contrary to public belief, only a small percentage of victims were displaced by combat.

In more than 14% of the cases farmers were forced to abandon their land because of incursions by the paramilitary groups promoted by Uribe, and guerrilla groups like the FARC and ELN.

Source: President’s Office

Who/what displaced the victims

The paramilitaries, and in particular the member groups of umbrella organization AUC, often with the support of corporations, politicians and wealthy landowners that ended up owning the abandoned land property, displaced by far the most people.

Estimation based on the following sources: 1985-1997 = Departamento Nacional de Planeación / 2000-2002 = Red de Solidaridad Social / Victims: National Victims Registry

Forced displacement between 1999 and 2011

Source: CODHES

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