Leidy Tatiana and her little brother Ferney, 16. He was shot in the arm during the armed attack, but he managed to escape.
Leidy Tatiana, a 20 years old girl and her family had to flee after an armed attack in her village which is situated along one of many rivers in the region of Chocó, Colombia. Her oldest brother got killed in this attack as well as as three cousins and an uncle. All male youth. Her life was changed when she, her family and and her community had to flee.
It was an ordinary day in March 2017 when Leidy Tatiana and other women where celebrating women’s day. The remaining village, mostly males, continued their normal activities when all of a sudden an armed group attacked. The women couldn’t go back home that night.
In addition to her brother and uncle that got killed her youngest brother, Ferney, a 14-year old boy, was shot but fortunately survived. He was standing on a pier when an armed man asked him for his phone. He was shot in his arm and fell off the pier and into the water. He was forced to swim for his life while the armed man continued to fire bullet on him. Ferney even witnessed his own brother and his cousin being killed while saving his own.
Today, the village is abandon and appears more like a ghost town. Leidy Tatiana and her family are now too afraid to return to their village because of the uncertainty that follows and if another armed attack will happen again.
Sometimes “I feel as if I'm missing something: my land, my town, my home. Sometimes I want to go back, but I have very painful memories and that is the reason I avoid it. I feel very afraid. Just seeing the place where my brother and my uncle died, I just can't do it”, Leidy Tatiana explains.
Sometimes she feels positive and at times not at all. Sometimes she goes out and do what she feels like doing, other times not. She feels scared and the armed attack prohibit her from fulfilling her dreams. Nevertheless, she will try her best to continues her studies because her “biggest dream is to become a psychologist, in order to help my mother, my family and those in need”. She would also love to become a mum one day.
Message to the youth
Leidy Tatiana thinks it is important in life to make good decision, resist temptations which as a youth, might have consequence on their families too. She also highlights the importance of following your dreams and visions.
Photo: Beate Simarud/NRC
NRC in Colombia
- NRC has been present in Colombia since 1991.
- NRC currently counts on 19 field offices in order to provide assistance to internally displaced and Colombians seeking international protection in the neighbouring countries.
- About 100.000 people benefited in 2017 from NRC´s programs (information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), education, regional refugee program and the roving capacity unit). Budget forecast 2017: 97.6 million NOK
- Strategic priority for 2018 continues to be to address displacement and emergency related protection gaps and humanitarian need when the state is unable or unwilling to fulfil its obligations. The peace accord will increase the likelihood that durable solutions can be sought with more vigour. NRC will in this context increase efforts to contribute to durable solutions, both in Colombia and in neighbouring countries.
• Humanitarian and protection challenges continue in Colombia. A six decade-long armed conflict has given Colombia the most prolonged and serious humanitarian crisis in the Americas. In total, more than 7.4 million people are forcibly displaced in Colombia by the conflict.
• Since the signing of a peace agreement between FARC-EP and the government in November 2016, about 200,000 people have been displaced (nov 2016 – august 2018) – the equivalent of one person every 5 minutes. Rights defenders, indigenous and Afro- Colombian leaders, and other community activists face threats, killings and violence. Perpetrators are rarely held accountable.
• There are more than 191,622 Colombians refugees and in need of international protection in neighbouring Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela, according to UNCHR.
• Forced displacement increased in 2018. During the first semester group displacement increased 112 % in comparison with the previous year (2017).
• During 2018, there was an increase (31 %) in the number of attacks against the civilian population, compared with 2017. Threats continue to be the primary mean of attack against the civilian population, although there was a growth in the number of homicides and intentional injuries targeting persons who were under state protection schemes.
• 9 in 10 people displaced by Colombia's civil war have not yet received compensation promised for crimes committed against them. Over 8,7 million Colombians are registered with the Government’s National Unit for Victims. However, only one out three applications for compensation by the 2011 Victim’s Law in Colombia has been approved. Despite GOC efforts allocating important resources ensure the implementation of the law, the efforts need to be increased.
• During 2018, 77 % of the people recorded in massive displacement events belongs to farmers, 11 % indigenous and 11 % afro Colombian communities.
• The peace agreement between FARC-EP and the Colombian government is a positive development, but the dynamics of armed conflict and other forms of violence are in flux. Other irregular armed groups have increased their actions in the shadow of the ceasefire, and the clash with these groups is causing the majority of new humanitarian needs.
• NRC recorded 22 events that affected the continuity of thousands of children attending classes during the first trimester of 2018. 7 IHL serious violations against schools have been reported in the first semester of 2018 and forced recruitment into armed groups appear to increase this year.
• Of the total resources requested (156.5 Millions) by the Country Humanitarian Team, only 22 % has been financed (OCHA July 2018)