Colombia presents the highest number of internally displaced people in the western hemisphere. The displacement is related to the country's four-decade-long internal armed conflict, the most protracted in Latin America.
Some people find themselves caught in the midst of fighting between leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries seeking to establish territorial control over strategic regions. Others are displaced by paramilitaries because they live on resource-rich or economically valuable lands. Upon seizing control of an area, armed groups often kill civilians and abuse of women and girls.
Healthcare access is difficult and dangerous for those in rural conflict zones and those forced to seek refuge in urban slums. In some areas internally displaced young men were forcibly recruited into irregular armed groups. Human rights defenders suspected of supporting the opposing side are frequently killed.