The number of displaced Colombians known to be living in Ecuador has increased by 26,000, over 50%, following new figures released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), reported EFE on Tuesday.
The data is the result of a countrywide project by the Ecuadorian government and the UNHCR to officially register refugees living in the country. It found that of Ecuador’s 45,000 registered refugees, 98% are Colombian, 26,000 of whom live in Ecuador’s remote northern regions, close to the border with Colombia.
UNHCR analysts suggest that the total number of refugees living in Ecuador may be up to 100,000 and that 90% are from Colombia.
In February the leaders of the two countries, President Alvaro Uribe and President Rafael Correa, declared that a three-way meeting between the two governments and the UNHCR office should be held to resolve the situation of displaced Colombian citizens living over the Ecuadorian border.
Ongoing violence in Colombia has resulted in thousands of people being forced from their homes, many of whom have emigrated to nations bordering their native country.