Colombia ombudsman: more than 11,000 people displaced by fighting so far this year
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Colombia ombudsman: more than 11,000 people displaced by fighting so far this year

Colombia’s Ombudsman Office reported Monday that more than 11,000 individuals have been displaced by fighting between Colombian armed groups so far in 2021.

The fighting has been due to crime gangs, such as National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas and former members of the FARC rebels, fighting each other and armed forces for control of Uraba corridor, a route for drug trafficking and gold mining.

Ombudsman Carlos Camargo stated that there have been 16 urban and 14 rural mass displacement events. Together, the events have affected 4,062 families. The displacements largely affect ethnic communities. According to Camargo, 90 percent of the displaced belong to Colombian Pacific ethnic communities. The displacements largely affect Black individuals, as well, because of the areas in which the fighting is taking place.

The Ombudsman Office reported that of those forcibly displaced, more than 280 were Indigenous people who were victims of violence. The crime gangs and violence also threaten the lives of at least 4,000 Indigenous community members.

This displacement is in addition to other recent acts of displacement and killings. In 2020, the UN Human Rights Office reported 375 killings in Colombia, which led UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to urge state authorities to respond with concrete action and stronger protection.