Marlon Langeland and Nilson having a man to man talk on the balcony of Nilson's house.
Nilson, a 22 year old boy survived an armed attack in his village. After the attack he and his family had to flee. Unfortunately, one of his brothers and three male cousins where killed in the attack.
Nilson grew up in a small village along the river in the region of Chocó, Colombia. He loved playing games, go swimming and fishing with his friends. He was studying at school and life was good. His dream got tossed when the community repetitively was threatened and they eventually had to flee.
It was an ordinary day in March 2017. The women of the village were celebration women’s day. Nilson and many other males in the small village was doing their daily activities including fishing, playing and walking around when all of a sudden an armed group attacked. “Suddenly people that we had never seen before appeared. They were armed and attacked everyone they came across. They looked angry. They did not speak with anyone; they just stared at people in silence and killed everyone they caught”. Five male youth got killed.
Today, the village is abandon and appears more like a ghost town. Nilson and his family are now too afraid to return to their village because of the uncertainty that follows and if another armed attack will happen again.
Nilson has now problems with adapting to his new life after the armed attack and loss of his brother and three cousins and he has lost his desire to do things he used to like. “Things are not the same. Things that I used to do there I now avoid doing here. Sometimes I do not feel well, I feel uncomfortable, because of the things that have changed so much”. He has stopped studying and many of his old friends and relatives have moved elsewhere.
Despite all this, he feels safe in the village they are displaced and now trying to adapt their new life. “I am overcoming some things and I feel calm and relaxed. I feel no fear”. He often reflects on the things that did happen and feels sad and occasionally also cries. However, on the contrary, the feeling of anxiety and stress also makes him want to run.
Above all, he would like to continue his education. As he says “the truth is that I am in limbo. I am not doing anything about it so I do not feel well”. He wants to become a pilot. He would also like to have family with a wife and children, a good house and even a dog.
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 needs 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)