Managing insecurity: forced displacement and return during the Colombian conflict

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

David Cantor’s recent PhD comprised an in-depth study of humanitarian protection for the four million people who have been displaced from their homes by the armed conflict in Colombia (desplazados). This new project, also supported by an ESRC Knowledge Exchange Small Grant, used the research to mitigate the insecurity faced by desplazados who return to their homes in the midst of the armed conflict.

This was achieved through a series of targeted interventions aimed at changing the policy and practice of those organisations in Colombia which have a determinate influence on the security of returning desplazados. The project counteracts the alarming lack of empirical knowledge amongst policy-makers and practitioners about desplazado returns and the impact of laws. In so doing, it sought to change law, policy and practice in this area in order to improve the protection of vulnerable desplazados.

Dissemination was undertaken principally through a series of workshops with relevant policy-makers and stakeholders in Colombia during summer 2010. These were complemented by targeted follow-up and other dissemination activities aimed at catalysing wider public debate around desplazado returns.