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UN refugee agency launches ID campaigns in Colombia

UN refugee agency launches ID campaigns in Colombia

Responding to a humanitarian crisis among some 20,000 displaced persons in a remote province of Colombia, the United Nations refugee agency, together with the Colombian Government, has launched an emergency campaign to provide them identity documents as a first step toward gaining access to relief.

According to a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the mostly Afro-Colombian and indigenous men, women and children had fled to the capital and other parts of the north-western province of Choco from the Buey River area last week because of deteriorating security. They are now living in severely overcrowded conditions.

The documentation team, which includes the Colombian National Registry Office, had already provided documents to around 1,100 people in Quibdo, the provincial capital, the spokesman said. Documentation campaigns will take place in the whole of Choco province in the next few weeks.

Since 2000, when UNHCR and the National Registry began their joint documentation programme, some 305,000 Colombian displaced persons, along with other vulnerable people, have benefited by receiving identity documents, the spokesman said.