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Colombia

In November 2016, the government and FARC rebels signed an agreement ending five decades of guerrilla war, yet peace remains elusive as new armed groups have stepped in to compete for territory and illicit businesses. To defend the gains of the peace process and stop a new cycle of conflict from taking hold, the state must redress the inequality underlying social discontent, make peace with Colombia’s last major insurgency, the ELN, and design security strategies that put protecting people first. Crisis Group has worked on Colombia’s conflicts since 2002, publishing over 40 reports and briefings and meeting hundreds of times with all parties in support of inclusive peace efforts. We monitor the FARC deal’s progress and carry out field research on issues ranging from new patterns of armed conflict to Colombia’s relations with its troubled neighbour, Venezuela. 

CrisisWatch Colombia

Unchanged Situation

Armed groups launched attacks on security forces, social leaders remained at risk, and supporters of left-wing presidential hopeful Gustavo Petro faced intimidation. Armed group violence targeting security forces continued. Notably, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents 8 April allegedly ambushed military vehicle in Ituango municipality, Antioquia department (north west), killing three soldiers; 13 April allegedly killed four soldiers during attack in Meta department (centre). National Liberation Army (ELN), along with FARC dissidents, 30 April allegedly launched attack on army in Norte de Santander department (north east), which left two civilians and two military injured. Members of criminal organisation Clan del Golfo 19 April reportedly bombed military vehicle in Frontino town, Antioquia, killing six soldiers. Army 29 April killed six suspected FARC dissidents in Puerto Rondon town, Arauca department (north). UN Human Rights Office 13 April urged govt to launch investigation into military operation in Putumayo department (south), which reportedly killed four civilians 28 March. According to civil society group Indepaz, six massacres (murder of three or more persons) took place across country 2-24 April, killing 22 in total; Indepaz 24 April said at least ten social leaders and six ex-FARC combatants killed during April. Earlier in month, International Red Cross 1 April designated six non-international armed conflicts in Colombia: three among armed groups and three between armed groups and state. Following reported irregularities during March legislative elections, National Registrar 12 April said more than one million votes not tallied in initial count, raising concerns about forthcoming presidential vote scheduled in May-June in case of disputed election. Election-related incidents targeted left-wing candidates. Namely, VP candidate Francia Marquez, front-runner of left-wing presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, 4 April declared far-right group Aguilas Negras threatened her three times during month; unknown group 15 April also attacked Bogotá office of Colombia Humana, one of parties supporting Petro. Meanwhile, International Court of Justice 21 April ruled Colombian activities in Nicaraguan marine zone violated Nicaraguan sovereignty and ordered Colombia to stop interfering in Nicaragua’s waters.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

10 May 2022
The security strategy [of the Colombian government] of focusing on high profile targets does not guarantee security for civilians. AP

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
1 Mar 2022
Coca is really just the currency of Colombia’s ongoing conflict. The Telegraph

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
30 Nov 2021
Today, the commitment of ex-combatants [of FARC] to remaining in civilian life is visible across Colombia and deserves the full support of the international community. Washington Post

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
29 May 2021
There is no armed or military solution to this crisis [in Colombia]. But agendas on all sides are increasingly tempted to look for one. Al Jazeera

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
6 May 2021
There is no way you could credibly claim that any armed or criminal group is motivating or coercing protesters to the street [in Colombia]. Al Jazeera

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
26 Apr 2021
There’s a lot of work to be done to fix social cohesion [in Colombia] because violence is at times the default answer, which is a legacy of so many years of conflict. The Telegraph

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia

Latest Updates

Event Recording / Global

EU Watch List: 10 Cases Where the EU can Build Peace in 2022 (Online Event, 28th January 2022)

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries or regions at risk of deadly conflict or escalation thereof in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could enhance prospects for peace and stability.

A Fight by Other Means: Keeping the Peace with Colombia’s FARC

Colombia’s 2016 peace deal was a landmark achievement, convincing the FARC guerrillas to disarm and enter civilian life. Yet much remains to be done to show insurgents that they can redress their grievances through ordinary politics. The country’s leaders should recommit to finishing the job.

Also available in Español

VIDEO | A Broken Canopy: Deforestation and Conflict in Colombia

Bram Ebus, Crisis Group consultant for the Andes, investigates how deforestation in Colombia is often linked to conflict.

Also available in Español

A Broken Canopy: Deforestation and Conflict in Colombia

Colombia’s vast forest is fast receding, partly because guerrillas and criminals are clearing land for farming, ranching and other pursuits. These unregulated activities are causing both dire environmental harm and deadly conflict. Bogotá should take urgent steps to halt the damage.

Also available in Español

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Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
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