Colombia UN agency hails 22 billion commitment to displaced persons

“We consider that this substantial and gradual increase in funding is a step in the right direction and a sign of Colombia’s commitment to fulfil its responsibilities towards IDPs, both in terms of finding durable solutions for those already displaced and of guaranteeing the protection of all its citizens in order to avoid new forced displacement,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva.In the first nine months of this year alone, the authorities registered nearly 100,000 new cases of forced displacement. Non-governmental organizations give much higher estimates. The vast majority have fled to escape the conflict between rival irregular armed groups, and their situation is often very precarious.According to several official studies, more than 50 per cent of IDPs do not have access to the health system, up to 65 per cent have lost lands or properties, and only a fraction manage to be economically secure even after years of displacement.Increased government funding could mean better access to work, housing and protection. Given the magnitude of the problem, and the fact that the crisis has been going on for more than four decades, the task is daunting and the government itself acknowledges that more funds will be required. Colombia’s civil society, including organizations of displaced people, will play a decisive role in the implementation of the newly announced initiatives.”UNHCR will continue to cooperate with these organizations and to provide technical assistance to state institutions at the local and national levels, while implementing projects that directly benefit thousands of persons in the areas most severely affected by the armed conflict and humanitarian crisis,” Mr. Redmond said. read more