The director of the government agency for social action in Colombia, Diego Andres Molano Aponte reported a 56% decrease in displacement for the year of 2009, with more than 107,752 people displaced by violence this year compared to 285,090 people at this time in 2008.
Molano attributed the decrease in displacement in 2009 to “the politics of democratic security and great efforts at the registrar of displaced people (the agencies that work to avoid fraud and create garuntees)”.
Displacement statistics generated by the government have been disputed by the Consultancy for Human Rights (CODHES) in the past and this year is no exception. In 2008, CODHES published a report disclaiming government statistics.
Jaime Rojas, CODHES director believes that there are more than 300,000 displaced people this year, though statistics are unconfirmed according to reports by El Tiempo.
“We will ask the Public Minister to revise the report, because although the numbers may have lowered due to the fact that 2008 was a year for land disputes, the humanitarian crisis continues”, Rojas said.
According to government reports, there were 42 mass displacements in the departments of Narino, Antioquia, and Choco affecting 7,464 people, while CODHES reported 75 mass displacements registered in 2009 leaving 16,000 people displaced.
The government claims that since 1997, 747,719 homes totaling 3.92 million people were displaced, while CODHES estimates the figures are closer to over 4.2 million peple.
Molano said that the years 2001-2002 were the most critical for displacement caused by increased activity by illegally armed groups. Since 2002, the official claims that figures are down 80% since 2008.
The municipalities most affected by violence included Tumaco (Narino) with 7,353 displaced people, Medellin (Antioquia) with 2,217 people, Buenaventura with 1,686 people, Tame with 1,366 people, and El Charco with 1,284 people displaced.
In the 171 municipals where violence and displacement increased, illicit crops and illegal armed groups were cited as the cause.
The government agency concluded that in December between 140,000-150,000 people will become displaced, a figure that represents a 53-56% decrease compared to last year.