Violence still displacing Colombians despite peace deal: UNHCR

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A passenger truck travels on the road between Riohacha and Uribia on La Guajira peninsula, Colombia, the territory home to the indigenous Wayuu people. UN Photo/Gill Fickling

Violence continues to displace thousands of people in Colombia despite the signing of a peace agreement last year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported on Friday.

UNHCR said fighting by armed groups battling for territorial control has uprooted more than 3,000 people in the country's Pacific Coast region.

Dianne Penn reports.

The Colombian Government and the largest rebel group in the country, known as FARC, signed the peace deal in November, ending 50 years of conflict. 

While acknowledging the efforts to consolidate peace and ensure victims' rights are addressed, UNHCR expressed deep concern over the increased levels of displacement. 

The violence has particularly affected Afro-Colombian communities and indigenous people, according to the agency. 

Collectively, they account for around 13 per cent of the country's 7.4 million internally displaced people (IDPs). 

William Spindler is a UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva: 

"Since the signing of the peace agreement, increased violence by new armed groups has resulted in killings; forced recruitment, including of children; gender-based violence and limited access to education, water and sanitation, as well as movement restrictions and forced displacement of the civilian population. We reiterate the need to ensure that the civilian population has access to protection and assistance. At the same time, any eventual returns of IDPs to their areas of origin need to take place in conditions of safety and dignity." 

UNHCR is supporting local authorities and communities in the Pacific region of Colombia through its four field offices. 

Dianne Penn, United Nations. 

Duration: 1'21"

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