UNHCR helps Ecuador deal with Colombian asylum seekers
GENEVA - UNHCR has sent a team to Ecuador to help the government deal with an increasing number of Colombian asylum seekers, a spokesman said today.
Kris Janowski said at the request of the government the team has been interviewing asylum seekers at the border and providing training and advice to Ecuadorian officials.
More than 1,800 Colombians have sought refuge in Ecuador so far this year, mainly in Imbabura and Carchi provinces. They came from the Nariño and Cauca regions of Colombia.
In the second half of 2000, more than 12,000 people fled to Ecuador from Colombia's Putumayo region. Most of them later returned, but some 1,480 were recognized as refugees, mainly in Sucumbíos province. UNHCR is providing them with food, medicine, education and housing support.
Civil conflict has displaced more than 1 million people in Colombia.