Identifying Victims of Civil Conflicts: An Evaluation of Forced Displaced Households in Colombia


Ibáñez, Ana María, and Andrea Velázquez. 2009. “Identifying Victims of Civil Conflicts: An Evaluation of Forced Displaced Households in Colombia.” Journal of Peace Research 46 (3): 431–51. doi:10.2307/25654414.

Authors: Ana María Ibáñez, Andrea Velázquez


Given that forced migration subjects households to extremely vulnerable conditions, the need to design particular policies for displaced populations is unquestionable. However, forced displacement poses several challenges to policymakers. In connection with low-intensity conflicts, such as in the case of Colombia, the main obstacle concerns the identification of households' victims of forced migration, so as to know to whom one should funnel aid. In such cases, inasmuch as victims migrate individually and tend to spread throughout a territory, identifying victims is difficult and channeling aid through supply-driven mechanisms is prohibitively expensive. To locate the households' victims of low intensity conflicts, an alternative — one adopted by the Colombia government — is to provide aid through demand-driven programs. This article evaluates whether demand-driven approaches aimed at assisting displaced households do in fact reach the entire displaced population. The study employs a survey applied to 1,553 households located in 48 Colombian municipalities. The authors identify to what extent a demand-driven approach excludes particular groups of households within the displaced population, examine what household characteristics determine the decision to declare one's eligibility for and final registration in RUPD, and analyze whether the exclusion of some groups of households is caused by the behavior of the relevant displaced households or by the deliberate targeting of these households by government offices. Results reveal that the exclusion of households from Colombia's RPUD program is mainly caused by lack of information regarding RUPD, with institutional determinants playing a lesser role.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, IDPs, Households, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2009

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