Colombia has seen the massive outflow of millions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, the largest forced displacement crisis ever in Latin America. There are currently millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants living in Colombia, the majority seeking to regularize their condition.
Despite the 2016 Peace Agreement, conflict and armed violence continue to uproot Colombians and, in a growing and worrying trend, also Venezuelans residing in Colombia. As of 2022, over 9 million people have been registered as victims of Colombia’s 60-year armed conflict and have suffered forced internal displacement.
Because Colombians and Venezuelans affected by conflict experience many of the same protection risks and needs, UNHCR has adopted a community and area-based approach with an Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) lens to ensure that all people of concern can access rights, services and solutions, and are able to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.
UNHCR established its presence in Colombia in 1997 to support the creation of a national asylum system and to respond to the internal conflict, contributing to the prevention of forced displacement. Internally displaced people, Venezuelan refugees and migrants and conflict-affected populations are spread across the country, oftentimes in hard-to-reach areas. UNHCR’s field presence is essential and focused in areas with the greatest concentration of persons of concern, including urban centres (e.g., Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cúcuta and Medellín), border areas with Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama and the Pacific Coast region.
UNHCR´s response is based on four integrated strategic lines –prevention and protection, assistance, empowerment and solutions - all of which seek to enhance access to protection and solutions for all the people we serve: asylum seekers and refugees, internally displaced, people at risk of statelessness and host communities.
For information about our work in Colombia:
Are you a refugee or asylum-seeker in Colombia? Find information about your rights and available services on our HELP site.
For legislation, case law and UNHCR policy relating to claims for international protection, visit Refworld.