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Forced displacement in Colombia: Magnitude and causes


  • Ana María Ibáñez

    () (Department of Economics, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia)


The article describes the magnitude, geographical extent, and causes of forced populationdisplacements in Colombia. Forced migration in Colombia is a war strategy adopted by armed groups to strengthen territorial strongholds, weaken civilian support to the enemy, seize valuable lands, and produce and transport illegal drugs with ease. Forced displacement in Colombia today affects 3.5 million people. Equivalent to 7.8 percent of Colombia’s population, and second worldwide only to Sudan, this shows the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis the country is facing. The phenomenon involves all of Colombia’s territory and nearly 90 percent of the country’s municipalities expel or receive population. In contrast to other countries, forced migration in Colombia is largely internal. Illegal armed groups are the main responsible parties, migration does not result in massive refugee streams but occurs on an individual basis, and the displaced population is dispersed throughout the territory and not focused in refugee camps. These characteristics pose unique challenges for crafting state policy that can effectively mitigate the impact of displacement.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana María Ibáñez, 2009. "Forced displacement in Colombia: Magnitude and causes," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, EPS Publishing, vol. 4(1), pages 48-54, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:epc:journl:v:4:y:2009:i:1:p:48-54

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    More about this item


    Conflict; civil war; forced displacement; migration;

    JEL classification:

    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions


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