Important Numbers

This is a regularly updated page of numerical data about peace, security, and human rights in Colombia. Links to primary documents or official sources are orange. Last updated March 10, 2020.

Attacks on Social Leaders | Child Combatants | Coca and Eradication | Cocaine | Crop Substitution | Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration | Displacement and Confinement | Dissident Groups | Donors | Economy and Security | The ELN | FARC Political Future | The Gulf Clan | Land Tenure | Landmines | The Military and Human Rights | Protection of Ex-Combatants | Public Security | Stabilization and Rural Governance | Transitional Justice | Venezuelan Migration | Victims

Attacks on Social Leaders

  • As of December 30, 2019, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had verified 303 murders of human rights defenders and social leaders between the signing of the FARC peace accord and the end of 2019.
  • The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría) counts a higher number: 555 social leaders killed between January 1, 2016 and October 31, 2019. That is 133 cases in 2016, 126 cases in 2017, 178 cases in 2018, and 118 cases in 2019.
  • The NGO INDEPAZ counts even more: 872 murders between January 1, 2016 and September 8, 2019: 132 murders in 2016, 208 in 2017, 282 in 2018, and 250 through September 8, 2019.
  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) counted up to 120 killings of human rights defenders and social leaders in 2019: as of February 26, 2020, the office had verified 108 cases, including 15 women and 2 LGBTI defenders.
  • Of these 108, 98% happened “in municipalities with illicit economies where criminal groups or armed groups operate.” 86% occurred “in villages with a poverty rate above the national average.”
  • 30 were members of Community Action Councils (Juntas de Acción Comunal or JACs), government-sanctioned local advisory bodies. That is down from 46 murders of JAC members in 2018, according to OHCHR.
  • "Killings of women human rights defenders increased by almost 50% in 2019 compared to 2018," OHCHR reports.
  • As of January 2020, 59 participants in coca crop substitution programs had been killed, according to the National Coordination of Coca, Poppy, and Marijuana Cultivators (COCCAM).
  • In 2018, the UN High Commissioner’s office counted 115 killings.
  • More than half of 2019 social-leader killings occurred in 4 departments: Antioquia, Arauca, Cauca, and Caquetá, though UN High Commissioner counted murders in 25 of Colombia’s 32 departments.
  • “The single most targeted group,” the UN High Commissioner reports, “was human rights defenders advocating on behalf of community-based and specific ethnic groups such as indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombians. The killings of female human rights defenders increased by almost 50% in 2019 compared to 2018.”
  • The UN High Commissioner’s office counted at least 10 killings during the first 13 days of January.
  • The NGO INDEPAZ counts 51 social leaders murdered between January 1 and February 18, 2020.
  • INDEPAZ counted 23 murders of social leaders in the month of December 2019.
  • On December 17, 2019, the Colombian Presidency’s human rights advisor, Francisco Barbosa (who is now Colombia’s Prosecutor-General) said that 84 social leaders were murdered in 2019, which he said was a 25% reduction from 2018.
  • The Prosecutor-General's Office (Fiscalía) claimed progress in 55% of the cases of attacks on human rights defenders that it took on between 2016 and 2019. OHCHR noted in February 2020 that "challenges persisted in the prosecution of intellectual authors" in these cases. Of the Fiscalía's cases, OHCHR reports, "The accused had been convicted in 16% of the cases; 20% were at trial stage; indictments had been issued in 7% of cases; and a valid arrest warrant had been delivered in 11% of cases."

Child Combatants

  • According to the Observatory for the Protection of Rights and Welfare of Children, “between 2017 and 2019 there were 311 cases of recruiting minors in 5 of Colombia’s 32 provinces. The National Liberation Army (ELN) accounted for the majority of cases, with 182, followed by FARC dissidents with 82.”
  • According to official numbers, between 1985 and 2019, more than 7,400 minors were victims of forced recruitment, while 16,249 were killed during the armed conflict.
  • A document from the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace finds that 14,000 minors were recruited by illegal armed groups during the past 18 years. 5,503 demobilized between August 7, 2002 and February 10, 2020. 3,199 had been in the FARC, 1,103 in the ELN, 809 in the AUC paramilitary group, and 152 in guerrilla dissident groups.
  • The Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración is implementing a reintegration program for 123 children formerly associated with the FARC.
  • The Observatorio de Niñez y Conflicto Armado counted 33 events of child recruitment during the first half of 2019, a 37.5% increase over the same period in 2018.
  • As of November 2019, the bishop of Quibdó estimated that at least 100 minors had been recruited by armed groups in Chocó that year.
  • In September 2019, the Fundación Ideas para la Paz estimated that child recruitment in Colombia had increased 41.6% over the previous year.

Coca and Eradication

  • Colombia’s security forces eradicated over 100,000 hectares of illicit crops in 2019.
  • The government’s eradication goal for 2020 is 130,000 hectares.
  • After forced eradication, 25-30% of coca is replanted within three months, and this number later rises to about 50%, according to the Fundación Paz y Reconciliación.
  • According to Eduardo Díaz, who directed crop substitution efforts in the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, replanting after glyphosate fumigation ranges between 40% and 60%.
  • In February 2020, researcher Daniel Rico reported drastic increases in the farm-gate price of coca base in four of Colombia’s main coca-growing regions. “They have risen more than a million pesos per kilo and now approximate 3.2 million (including the tax charged by the illegal armed group) or 3.5 million for those who sell to independent buyers.” Rico estimated price increases over the prior year or so ranging from 40% to 65%.

Cocaine

  • Colombia’s security forces seized 434.7 metric tons of cocaine in 2019.

Crop Substitution

  • As of February 2020, the peace accords’ National Comprehensive Substitution Program (PNIS) had voluntarily eradicated 41,370 hectares of coca, according to the Colombian Presidency. Of that, 15,152 was eradicated after Iván Duque entered the presidency in August 2018.
  • According to PNIS Director Hernando Londoño, 99,097 families signed crop substitution agreements, among them 17,000 coca-pickers. These families had 60,082 hectares of coca. In Putumayo department, 40% were female-headed households.
  • As of December 2019, 95% of families participating in the PNIS are complying with their voluntary eradication commitments, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The agency estimates that only 0.4% have replanted coca.
  • The UN Verification Mission reported in December 2019, “38,525 families have received their full year of interim payments, 60,842 families have received technical assistance and 34,492 families have received support for food security projects.”
  • 89% of families involved in the PNIS have received at least some promised payments as of January 2020, according to Londoño.
  • Only 1% of families involved in the PNIS have received assistance for productive projects as of January 2020, according to Londoño.
  • Each family was promised a package of assistance totaling COP$36 million (roughly US$12,000) over two years. “That times 100,000 families covered by the program gives a cost of COP$3.6 trillion [roughly US$1.2 billion],” Londoño said in January 2020. In 2019, he added, the government invested more than COP$500 billion (about US$170 million) in the program, and plans to spend more than COP$700 billion (about US$235 million) in 2020.
  • According to Eduardo Díaz, Londoño's predecessor at the PNIS directorship, the substitution program's expected total cost was 6 trillion pesos (about US$1.75 billion).
  • Colombia's Presidency reports having spent about US$200 million (704 billion pesos) on the PNIS program between August 2018 and December 2019.
  • Juan Carlos Garzón of the Fundación Ideas para la Paz notes that, “According to the 2020 Budget Law, this program will receive an appropriation of COP$1.331 trillion [about US$420 million], well below the required budget of COP$2.1 trillion [about US$650 million].”
  • Garzón notes that 6 of the 10 counties (municipalities) with the most coca saw neither eradication nor alternative development assistance in 2018. These six counties accounted for 44% of Colombia’s estimated coca that year.
  • As of January 2020, 59 participants in coca crop substitution programs had been killed, according to the National Coordination of Coca, Poppy, and Marijuana Cultivators (COCCAM).

Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration

  • The Colombian government told the UN in January 2020 that 13,185 ex-combatants had been accredited as demobilized.
  • "Of 13,202 ex-combatants accredited before the accord's signing," the Presidency's High Counselor for Stabilization and Consolidation reported in February 2020, "12,940 remain committed to their reincorporation."
  • As of January 2020, Colombia’s Foreign Ministry reported, 898 individual and 47 collective productive economic projects had been approved for ex-combatants.
  • The 47 collective projects benefit 2,454 former combatants, including 688 women, according to the UN Verification Mission. Their total cost is less than US$8 million (27.42 billion pesos), the Colombian presidency reported in February 2020. As of December 2019, 24 of those projects, benefiting 1,530 ex-combatants, had received funding.
  • 77% of the collective projects are taking place on rented land.
  • As of Februrary 2020, another 898 individual productive projects were benefiting 1,048 ex-combatants at a cost of about US$2.5 million (8.361 billion pesos).
  • The director of Colombia’s Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization, Andrés Stapper, said in February 2020 that 1,212 productive projects had been approved, covering 3,800 ex-combatants, with 70% focused on rural development.
  • As of December 2019, 18% of accredited former combatants had received financial support through collective or individual economic projects.
  • “The number of former combatants pursuing academic studies increased from 2,461 in January to 5,059 in October,” the UN Verification Mission reported in December 2019. “In addition, 3,475 former combatants are currently enrolled in vocational training activities.”
  • On February 26, 2020, Stabilization and Consolidation Advisor Emilio Archila said that 2,757 ex-combatants remain in the 24 former Territorial Training and Reincorporation Spaces (ETCRs). Another 1,200 people who were not combatants live in the former ETCRs.
  • As of November 2019, 9,225 former combatants were living outside the former Territorial Training and Reincorporation Spaces (ETCRs), according to the Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración.
  • In February 2020, the High Counselor for Stabilization and Consolidation gave a figure of 8,943 ex-combatants dispersed across 522 municipalities.
  • Semana reported on February 18 that the departments of Colombia with the largest populations of former FARC combatants were Antioquia (about 1,000), Meta (959), Cauca (828), Bogotá (over 800), and Caquetá (596).
  • The UN Verification Mission reported in December 2019, “98% of former combatants are affiliated with the national health-care system, although former combatants still report challenges in gaining access to health care.”
  • As of December 2019, the UN Verification Mission reported, “More than 2,200 children of former combatants continue to require dedicated support and services.” 900 of them live in the former ETCRs.
  • The Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración is implementing a reintegration program for 123 children formerly associated with the FARC.

Displacement and Confinement

  • The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported a 132% increase, from 2017 to 2018, of displacement events caused by the ELN guerrillas.
  • OCHA found a 63% increase in forced confinements of populations between January-October 2018 and January-October 2019. 21,500 people were affected in the first 10 months of 2019, 92% of them in Chocó.

Dissident Groups

  • The Fundación Paz y Reconciliación estimated in January that 23 ex-FARC “dissident” groups operate in 85 of Colombia’s 1,103 counties (municipalities). Of these groups, the Fundación considers 11 to be part of the structure of alias “Gentil Duarte,” who rejected the peace accord in 2016.
  • The Fundación Paz y Reconciliación estimated that, as of late 2019, approximately 830 ex-FARC members had deserted the peace process, about 6.4% of the total who demobilized.

Donors

  • The UN’s Multi-Donor Fund for Sustainment of Peace in Colombia has collected US$148 million since 2016. The largest single contributor has been the United Kingdom, with US$35.3 million.

Economy and Security

  • Colombia's gross domestic product increased by 3.3% in 2019.
  • The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports: "According to the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), Colombia is among the three countries with the highest levels of inequality in Latin America, with a Gini coefficient of 0.51."

ELN

  • The Fundación Ideas para la Paz cites “the most recent estimate of the security forces”: “in 2018 [the ELN] had more than 4,000 members. Since this guerrilla group isn’t exclusively military, it is estimated that it might have between 4,000 and 5,000 militia members.” In 2017 alone, the ELN may have added about 1,000 more members.
  • In late 2019, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Luis Fernando Navarro said that the ELN has 2,400 members, of whom 1,100 are in Venezuela.
  • The International Crisis Group and InsightCrime estimate that the ELN is present in 12 of Venezuela’s 24 states.
  • In February 2020, analyst David Correal of CERAC said that his group counted a 16% reduction in ELN offensive actions since the November 2016 signing of the FARC peace accord, compared with the 37 months prior to the accord. This went along with a 5% reduction in ELN combat and a 14% drop in deaths caused by ELN actions.

FARC Political Future

  • The FARC party barely reached 50,000 votes in March 2018 congressional elections. In October 2019 gubernatorial and mayoral elections, its candidates received 119,000.
  • In October 2019 local elections the FARC, and coalitions including FARC, endorsed 300 candidates, 67% of whom were not former combatants, according to the UN Verification Mission. Of these candidates, 12 were elected, 3 to mayor’s offices. 2 of the elected candidates were women.

The Gulf Clan

  • In January 2020, Colombia’s National Police reported carrying out 1,163 operations against the Gulf Clan neo-paramilitary group since the February 2015 launch of “Operation Agamemnon,” capturing 3,344 people, killing 127—including 30 high-level leaders, and seizing over 1,000 firearms. 80members of the security forces died in these operations.

Land Tenure

  • The director of the National Land Agency said in February 2020 that her agency had delivered 5,356 land titles to about 17,000 people, covering 38,278 hectares, in territories designated for Territorially Focused Development Programs (PDET).
  • Colombia’s Land Restitution Unit has received 124,000 restitution requests since 2011, of which all but about 25,000 “have passed their administrative stage,” the Unit’s director, Andrés Augusto Castro, said in February 2020. The remaining land claims are primarily in areas where security conditions are difficult. Castro said the Unit had resolved restitution cases covering 70,000 people and 375,000 hectares of land. Still pending are 700,000 hectares of individual claims, and 2.7 million hectares of collective claims, mainly indigenous and Afro-descendant communities.
  • Data from the Colombian government’s Agustín Codazzi Geographical Institute indicate that the land Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, is a very high 89.7 in rural Colombia. “64% of campesino households have no access to land, and 4.4 million own parcels that are too small to work and sustain families,” writes politician Clara López in Semana.
  • From 1960 to 2017, landholdings over 500 hectares in size increased from 29% to 66% of the total. Forced displacement is a significant cause.

Landmines

  • 344 people were victims of landmines or other explosive artifacts in Colombia in 2019, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. This was a 55% increase over 221 victims in 2018. In 2019, 158 of the victims were civilians, 19 were minors, and 44 cases were fatal.
  • According to Descontamina Colombia, as of November 2019 Colombia had 11,799 victims of anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnance: 2,298 fatalities and 9,501 injuries, 61% combatants and 39% civilians. 2006 was the worst year, with 1,228 victims.
  • Colombia reports clearing 391 counties (municipalities) of landmines, of a list of 673 that showed some level of contamination (Colombia has 1,103 municipalities).

The Military and Human Rights

  • The OHCHR documented 15 cases of killings of civilians at the hands of the security forces in 2019. This was the highest number of such cases OHCHR recorded since 2016.
  • The Fiscalía counts 2,248 victims of military “false positive” killings of civilians between 1988 and 2014, of which 48% were young men between 18 and 30 years of age. These killings increased substantially after 2002 and saw their peak period between 2006 and 2008.

Protection of Ex-Combatants

  • The UN Verification Mission found 2019 to be the “most violent” year for ex-combatants, with 77 murders of former FARC members. 65 were killed in 2018, and 31 in 2017.
  • As of December 2019, the Mission reported, “The total number of killings has now reached 173, in addition to 14 disappearances and 29 attempted homicides.”
  • The Prosecutor General’s Office’s Special Investigative Unit counted 86 murdered ex-FARC members in 2019, 75 in 2018, and 35 in 2017.
  • As of February 24, 2020, 186 demobilized FARC members had been killed, 5 of them in January 2020.
  • Of 185 killed as of early February 2020, a disproportionate share—79—were ex-guerrillas who had been released from prison, according to the FARC’s records. 16 were former guerrillas who had held some position of leadership in the group.
  • The Prosecutor General’s Office’s Special Investigative Unit attributed responsibility in 93 cases: 36 to FARC dissident groups, 12 to the ELN, 9 to the Gulf Clan, 10 to small criminal groups, 6 to the EPL, and 13 to “individuals.” Other actors, among them security forces, have 1 alleged case.
  • The NGO INDEPAZ counted 10 former FARC members killed between January 1 and February 15, 2020.
  • As of December 31, 2019, 41 relatives of ex-combatants had also been killed: 15 in 2017, 11 in 2018, and 15 in 2019. 22 of these cases have been “clarified” by judicial authorities: dissident groups are allegedly responsible for 6, the Gulf Clan for 6, common crime for 3, individuals for 3, the EPL for 2, and the security forces for 2.
  • The Prosecutor General’s Office’s Special Investigative Unit registered 169 killings of ex-FARC members between 2017 and 2019, of which 78 have seen “any advancement” in their investigations and 91 remained unresolved.
  • For these 78 cases, The Special Investigative Unit has issued 51 arrest warrants, and reached sentences in 23 cases involving 20 people. Another 16 cases are in the trial phase.
  • According to the UN Verification Mission, as of December 2019 “only 9 of the 67 arrested suspects are the intellectual authors” or masterminds of these killings.
  • Antioquia department has the largest number of assassinated ex-FARC members, especially the municipalities of Ituango and Tarazá.
  • FARC leaders have 1,200 bodyguards within the Interior Ministry’s National Protection Unit, the Unit’s director, Pablo Elías González, said in January 2020. Of those, 900 are demobilized FARC members who went through bodyguard training.
  • The UN Verification Mission reported 233 National Protection Unit protection schemes covering 250 men and 74 women as of November 24, 2019. These protection schemes employ 985 bodyguards, Stabilization and Consolidation Advisor Emilio Archila said in February 2020.
  • Though the 24 Territorial Training and Reincorporation Spaces (ETCRs) no longer exist, Emilio Archila said in January 2020 that each zone continues to be guarded by a 100-person Army battalion. In total, Archila said in February 2020, the former ETCRs are protected by "the action of 2,500 members of the Army and 1,240 police."

Public Security

  • Homicides in Colombia dropped from 12,923 cases in 2018 to 12,825 cases in 2019, according to President Duque who said, “In 2019 we had one of the lowest homicide rates that the country has seen since 1974.”
  • The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports: "According to the police, the national homicide rate in 2019 was 25 per 100,000 persons, which reflects an endemic level of violence. The World Health Organization considers there is endemic violence when the homicide rate is above 10 per 100,000 inhabitants."
  • OHCHR counted 36 massacres in 2019, involving 133 deaths, the most since 2014. (A massacre is "when three or more persons are killed in the same incident [same place and time] by the same alleged perpetrators.") They occurred most often in Antioquia, Cauca and Norte de Santander.
  • The government counted 92 kidnappings in 2019, down from 176 in 2018.
  • President Duque claimed a 33% reduction in attacks on oil pipelines from 2018 to 2019.
  • The Bogotá-based think tank CERAC found a 33% reduction in “actions of political violence” from 2018 to 2019, from 200 to 133 killings. In January 2020, however, CERAC counted 23 politically motivated killings, the second-highest monthly total since 2017. The 2019 killings concentrated in 7% of Colombia’s municipalities, especially in the regions of Catatumbo, Bajo Cauca, Urabá Antioqueño and the Pacific departments of Cauca, Valle del Cauca, and Nariño.

Stabilization and Rural Governance

  • According to Colombia’s Foreign Ministry, the government plans to spend US$900 million on “tertiary roads connecting rural areas with more developed centers” between 2020 and 2022.
  • Between August 2018 and January 2020, 309 projects were approved within the framework of Territorially Focused Development Plans (PDETs), “at an investment cost of US$500 million,” according to Colombia’s Foreign Ministry. The government had completed a total of 680 PDET projects as of February 28, 2020.
  • During 2019, the High Counselor for Stabilization and Consolidation reported having invested 222 billion pesos (about US$60 million) on 641 PDET works projects for “aqueducts, energy, education, roads, and reconciliation.”
  • Between August 2018 and January 2020, the Duque government had approved 298 PDET investment projects using COP$1.7 trillion (about US$500 million) in funds from oil and other commodity royalties.
  • A February 2020 Presidency document mentions royalties funding 341 projects worth COP$2.2 trillion (about US$600 million).
  • The government's OCAD Paz (Collegial Organ for Administration and Decision for Peace) receives 7% of government royalty revenue for accord implementation-related projects.
  • As of February 2020, the government's "Public Works for Taxes" (Obras por Impuestos) program had redirected 50% of the tax payments of 41 companies into 42 projects, in 28 PDET municipalities, worth a total of US$70 million (248 billion pesos).
  • Stabilization and Consolidation Advisor Emilio Archila said in January 2020 that of 170 PDET municipal governments, 162 had adopted the PDETs as a long-term policy.
  • Colombia's Prosecutor-General's Office (Fiscalía) is present in less than half of the country's 1,103 counties (municipalities), OHCHR reports.

Transitional Justice

  • At the end of 2019, 12,235 people had submitted to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP): 9,720 ex-FARC members, 2,431 security-force members, 72 civilian officials, and 12 “for social protest.” The JEP was studying the requests for submission from 916 private individuals and civilian officials.
  • As of the end of 2019 the JEP had rejected 52 requests for non-extradition guarantees, while granting one.
  • As of December 2019, the JEP had conducted more than 7,500 collective and individual interviews.
  • In the framework of its seven “macro-cases,” in 2019 the JEP heard 256 in-person accounts by victimizers (“versiones”) and received 43 in writing. In macro-case 01, regarding kidnapping, the JEP heard 6 accounts collectively, from 350 ex-FARC members.
  • As of February 2020, 1,709 victims had sought accreditation for case 01.
  • As of December 2019, 156 members of the armed forces had provided voluntary testimonies for “macro-case” 003, regarding “false positive” killings. This included 7 generals, 7 colonels, 10 majors, 32 other officers, 38 sergeants, and 51 soldiers. As of February 15, 2020, the JEP had received 215 testimonies for case 003: 169 oral and 46 written.
  • According to the UN Verification Mission, “Case 007, on the recruitment and use of children, includes 8,839 individual cases of children recruited by the former FARC-EP, and 37 former FARC-EP commanders have been identified to appear before the Special Jurisdiction.”
  • The Truth Commission collected approximately 5,500 testimonies from victims and their families in 2019.

Venezuelan Migration

  • Migración Colombia estimated that as of December 31, 2019, 1,771,237 Venezuelans were residing in Colombia: 754,085 documented and 1,017,152 undocumented. 352,431 were in Bogotá; the remainder of the top five destination cities was, in order, Cúcuta, Barranquilla, Medellín, and Cali.
  • According to President Iván Duque, 290,000 Venezuelan migrant children have enrolled in school in Colombia at a cost of US$160 million per year.
  • According to Colombian government figures cited by the International Crisis Group in February 2020, “Colombian government figures indicate that outsiders have given $397 million to tackle the Venezuelan migration crisis over the past two years, even though the UN emergency call for 2019 alone asked for nearly twice that sum.”
  • “In 2020,” according to UNHCR, “US$1.35 billion will be needed to respond to the increasing needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants and the communities hosting them in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
  • The Fundación Paz y Reconciliación think tank counts 28 “illegal armed structures” operating along the length of the Colombia-Venezuela border. They include 10 FARC dissident groups, the EPL, the Rastrojos, the Gulf Clan, and 14 regional criminal groups, including Venezuelan pranes and Mexican traffickers.

Victims

  • As of December 31, 2019, 8,944,137 Colombians had registered as conflict victims with the government’s Victims’ Unit. 7,227,885 were “subject to attention and/or reparation.” Many of the rest were deceased, disappeared, or otherwise unable to receive benefits.
  • 7,976,412 were victims of displacement as of July 2017.
  • According to the Colombian Presidency, about 1/3 of registered victimes live in one of the 170 most conflict-affected municipalities, selected to participate in Territorially-Focused Development Plans (PDET) under the peace accords' first chapter.
  • In Februrary 2020 the Presidency reported having made payments (indemnizaciones) totaling US$256 million (886.816 billion pesos) to 108,152 victims.