We must apply what we know when it comes to Colombia
The latest analysis of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Colombia is very timely. Colombia: Resources for humanitarian response and poverty reduction, from Global Humanitarian Assistance will contribute to the ongoing discussion on making the humanitarian caseload visible in the context of peace dialogues between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP).
While the peace process advances, an end to Colombia’s 50 years of internal armed conflict remains hopeful. However, the humanitarian community must remain vigilant in order to address current and emerging humanitarian needs in close cooperation with the country’s government and population.
History has taught the international community that demobilisation scenarios are frequently fraught with challenges. It is not unusual that armed violence and its humanitarian impact increases in the immediate aftermath of conflict. Such was the case in Colombia in 2006 with the demobilisation of paramilitary groups, which has led to the emergence of post-demobilisation armed groups (PDAGs), officially considered as criminal bands.
Besides, the latest report from the International Committee of the Red Cross on Colombia signalled that the consequences and needs created by the armed conflict and other forms of violence such as gang warfare are similar. It underlined the need to continue its support to Colombia and prepare to address the impact of all forms of violence, even in the best case scenario of a peace treaty finally forged with FARC guerrillas. This important humanitarian organisation has already made clear that it will still have years of work remaining even if the armed conflict ends through a negotiated agreement.
Funding for humanitarian assistance has been on the decline in Colombia over the past few years, but now, more than ever, the most vulnerable people affected by violence and natural disasters require our support and advocacy. Only through an earnest dialogue with the full range of donors can the important needs emerging in complex emergencies, such as Colombia, be met.