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ACAPS Short note: Colombia Violence against civilians – 27 November 2020

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Reports of violence against civilians in Colombia have increased in 2020. As projected by ACAPS, armed groups and criminal organisations have taken advantage of COVID-19 containment measures to expand their territorial and social control, often by exploiting and inflicting violence on local communities (ACAPS 09/09/2020). This violence is mainly concentrated in remote, rural areas where armed groups compete for control of illicit economies and state presence is weak. The departments of Cauca, Meta, Putumayo, Chocó, Nariño and Antioquia are especially affected (UN News 15/07/2020). Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, who often live in these conflict-affected areas, are especially vulnerable to this violence and are targeted by armed groups for opposing their activities (IACHR 14/10/2020). Venezuelan refugee and migrant households are also at risk due to economic vulnerabilities and lack of access to support services (FAO-WFP 10/2020). Women and girls are also at an increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the context of increased conflict. COVID-19 contain-ment measures leave many of them isolated and cut off from protection services.