Colombia IDP Figures Analysis

As of December 2014 IDMC estimates that there were 6,044,200 people internally displaced in Colombia.


IDMC’s figure on IDPs is based on estimates provided by the government’s Integral Reparation and Assistance for Victims Unit (UARIV). As the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES) has not yet published its 2014 report, there is no other available data source for comparison. This figure is cumulative and covers the period from 1985 to 2014. It does not subtract IDPs who have managed to achieve a durable solution or those who were born or who died in displacement. The breakdown by sex shows that 52.3% of the IDPs are women. 29.6% of IDPs belong to the Afro-Colombian ethnic minority (UARIV). 

The figure does not include disaster-induced displacement for which as of December 2013, at least 31,700 people were displaced mainly due to heavy rains, landslides and an earthquake. In many cases there is a combination of conflict and disasters which affect IDPs.

Colombia’s internal armed conflict has raged over the past five decades with a complex mix of armed groups including various guerrilla groups, pro-government paramilitary groups, and other criminal organisations, such as drug traffickers. Confrontations between armed groups and the government security forces, and direct threats to individuals and communities cause the vast majority of displacement. Nowadays, intra-urban displacement is also on the rise due to the upsurge of urban violence and threats.

In 2014, the five departments with most displacement were Valle del Cauca, Nariño, Antioquia, Cauca , and Chocó, which are all  departments located mainly on the Pacific coast, where exit ports of both legal and illegal goods are located.

Even though peace talks represent a significant step towards conciliation between the government and the dominant guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC), a vast array of different criminal groups (Bacrim – Spanish for criminal bands) continues to terrorize communities and force people to flee.

IDMC uses only the most credible accurate information available. Notwithstanding the caveats and limitations of the source information described above, IDMC believes this to be the best data and is grateful to the partners for sharing it.