Colombia has suffered almost five decades of internal armed conflict, a war rooted in huge and growing inequities and fuelled by massive amounts of military aid from the United States. The Colombian government has responded to the conflict with a counter-insurgency strategy that targets the civilian population. The result is one of the worst human rights situations in the world. At the end of 2010, cumulative estimates of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Colombia ranged from 3.6 million (government statistics) to 5.2 million, according to the independent Observatory on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). Further, 113,233 Colombians have sought refuge outside the country.
Displacement continued in 2011 at the same rate as in previous years, caused by clashes between countless paramilitary groups, guerrillas and the national security forces.
The Jesuits in Colombia have been at the forefront of the work for peace, justice and reconciliation, with programs ranging from human rights protection, research, advocacy, peace-building, with some Jesuit institutions working in war-torn areas. Amar y Servir is a foundation that raises funds for five different social programs of the Jesuit province in Colombia, including the Jesuit Refugee Service, which has been at work in the country since the mid-90s.
Colombia news and articles:
• “Youth for others” in Colombia by Luis Fernando Gomez Gutierrez