The head of the UN’s refugee body has praised Ecuador for sheltering tens of thousands of displaced Colombians, according to media reports.
Colombians account for 98% of refugees in Ecuador. It hosts an estimated 55,000 recognized refugees and thousands more who have fled Colombia’s continued armed conflicts.
Antonio Guterres highlighted the generosity of Ecuador and other developing nations that keep their boarders open to refugees.
Speaking at a press conference in Madrid, he also announced a UN “Thank you Ecuador” campaign set to launch next month.
The two countries have set up a binational commission to address the long-running issue and examine both the needs of Colombian refugees and their possible return to their homeland.
Guterres also noted the 4 million internally displaced Colombians. He said that while the Victims and Land Restitution Law introduced in 2010 “represents an important commitment by the government,” the law had been difficult to implement.
Guerrilla groups, criminal gangs and former paramilitary groups present a “very big challenge” to the Colombian government, he added.