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Sur. Revista Internacional de Direitos Humanos

Print version ISSN 1806-6445

Abstract

VIANA, Manuela Trindade. International Cooperation and Internal displacement in Colombia: facing the challenges of the largest humanitarian crisis in South America. Sur, Rev. int. direitos human. [online]. 2009, vol.6, n.10, pp. 138-161. ISSN 1806-6445.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1806-64452009000100008.

The objective of this article is to understand the interaction between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Colombian government in their attempts to mitigate forced internal displacement, as well as the main challenges faced in addressing this problem. This article focuses on the interpretation adopted by the forementioned actors, who link this displacement to the armed conflict the country that has endured for more than forty years. Although this issue has been discussed for decades, the formulation of national policies intended to mitigate its effects came late, in the mid-1990s. Similarly, the UNHCR began paying more attention only in the late 1990s. The article concludes that there is a significant disparity between the development of norms regarding the internally displaced and the execution of such norms. For example, there needs to be greater coordination between national and local organizations, and national and international organizations. With respect to the prevention of internal displacement and the evaluation of the impact of these policies, the challenge is even greater; as such efforts are in the beginning stages. The UNHCR has used the same criteria as the Colombian government in executing its tasks; these criteria should be rethought and redefined in light of the High Commissioner's experience.

Keywords : Internally displaced persons; Colombia; UNHCR; Armed conflict; Humanitarian crisis.

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