The departments of Meta and Guaviare have historically been affected by Colombia’s armed conflict because of the presence of armed groups that seek to control strategic routes (such as Guaviare and Guayabero rivers) for the commercialisation of drugs and for irregular economies. Their geographic characteristics and the lack of state presence have made them a strategic point for coca cultivation and deforestation led by armed groups.
After the Peace Agreement in 2016, there has been a reduction in the number of people affected by displacement, threats, forced recruitments, and homicides, but the conflict and presence of armed groups, such as dissident groups of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), continue to affect communities in these departments. From 1985 to October 2021, 36% of the population of the department of Guaviare and 22.2% of the population of Meta has been affected by the armed conflict – many of them by more than one event (Victims Unit accessed 30/10/2021).
The actual impact of the conflict on people living in Meta and Guaviare is not visible because of a lack of data caused by underreporting of violence and mobility restrictions, as well as threats impeding people’s access to reporting mechanisms.
Many communities are routinely affected by mobility restrictions that limit their access to basic services and livelihoods and pose protection concerns; at the same time, this situation is normalised by communities.
An increase in mobility restrictions, confinements, and displacements over the coming months is likely because of the continued presence of different armed groups.
Access to basic services, especially water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as food. Movement restrictions limit access to crops, putting the food security of the population at risk (MIRE 06/10/2021 and 11/10/2021; OCHA 18/11/2021). Health services are also scarce and difficult to access for rural communities (KII 02/12/2021).
Protection of women and girls, especially from indigenous communities. The sexual exploitation of minors from Nukak Makú and Jiw communities has increased in urban areas, where many of them arrive when they are displaced (Consejo de Redacción 13/10/2021). Data on gender-based violence (GBV) is scarce because of reporting difficulties, as well as local dynamics of traditional gender roles and the fact that talking about it is discouraged (KII 02/12/2021; KII 06/12/2021).
Protection of minors from recruitment. Education is not available after ninth grade in rural areas, and adolescents are vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups in the area (MIRE 11/10/2021;