Canada Supports Colombians Affected by Conflict

August 1, 2013 - Bogotá - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced Canada’s support to help civilians affected by Colombia’s internal armed conflict, during his bilateral visit to the country.

“Canada has been a long-standing supporter of Colombia’s efforts to achieve peace, security and justice for its citizens. Although challenges remain, Colombia continues to make major strides in its fight against violence and crime,” said Baird. “Canada remains committed to its extensive peace, security and development programming in Colombia and to ensuring that critical humanitarian assistance is provided to the country’s most vulnerable people.”

Since 2006, Canada has provided more than $161 million in peace-, security- and development-related programming in Colombia.

Canada provides humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in conflict- and disaster-affected areas of the world. The Economic Action Plan 2013 affirms Canada’s commitment to providing humanitarian assistance. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and the ability to respond to humanitarian crises.

Baird is on a 13-day trip to Latin America to advance Canada’s engagement in the Americas—a foreign policy priority with a vision of a more prosperous, secure and democratic hemisphere.

To learn more about Canada’s relationship with Colombia, visit Canada-Colombia Relations.

To learn more about Canada’s engagement in the Americas, visit The Americas: Our Neighbours, Our Priority.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada’s Assistance Initiatives for Colombia

The Government of Canada has partnered with various national and international agencies and organizations in response to their appeals on behalf of conflict-affected people in Colombia.

Humanitarian Assistance Initiatives

Action Against Hunger, $700,000

Canada’s support is increasing access to safe drinking water for approximately 10,000 people in Nariño Department. As a result of the conflict, these people are not able to have their basic needs met. This support will lead to an expected 30-percent reduction in the incidence of water-borne diseases in the targeted communities. This project is providing:

  • sanitation facilities to approximately 950 conflict-affected people;
  • hygiene education to approximately 9,500 conflict-affected people;
  • 1,900 household-level water tanks and water filter systems;
  • household water supply systems, basic sanitation systems and the construction, renovation or repair of latrines;
  • 1,900 basic hygiene kits;
  • household emergency environmental sanitation kits; and
  • training to trainers on basic hygiene practices.

Médecins du Monde Canada, $500,000

Canada’s support is increasing access to basic health care and psycho-social support for conflict-affected people in five targeted municipalities in Meta Department, Colombia, which are areas particularly affected by this conflict. This project is providing:

  • three mobile health units for primary health-care services to approximately 5,000 crisis-affected people in isolated communities;
  • psycho-social support for approximately 900 people in isolated communities; and
  • support to strengthen the emergency response capacities of 58 communities.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, $500,000

Canada’s support is contributing to preventing further displacement, protecting more than 3.8 million internally displaced people and promoting sustainable solutions. This project is providing:

  • protection to Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities;
  • support to internally displaced persons who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence;
  • protection services for children; and
  • registration services for internally displaced persons.

Other humanitarian partners, $1,500,000

Canada’s support is contributing to improved health, living conditions and protection for conflict-affected people. This project is providing:

  • emergency food assistance for up to 16,000 internally displaced people and 4,000 conflict-affected people;
  • essential household items for up to 14,000 conflict-affected people;
  • improved access to water, sanitation and shelter facilities for approximately 3,000 internally displaced people;
  • shelter, water and sanitation facilities for approximately 19,000 beneficiaries;
  • vocational training for up to 6,400 beneficiaries; and
  • referral services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, international humanitarian law violations and other abuses.

Development Initiatives for Colombia

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, $9 million over three years (2013-2015)

Canada’s support is helping internally displaced persons suffering from Colombia’s long-standing internal armed conflict to improve their livelihoods and engage more fully in the local economy. The project focuses on local integration and is being implemented in 12 communities. More than 60,000 persons will benefit directly from the project. This project is providing:

  • access to essential housing, education and health services;
  • improved protection of the rights of internally displaced people, including those affected by sexual and gender-based violence;
  • job and skills training; and
  • economic opportunities.

Rule-of-Law Initiatives for Colombia

Justice Rapid Response, $231,000

  • Canada’s support will provide practical and effective guidance to individuals called to document conflict-related sexual crimes. It will also increase the pool of experts who can rapidly deploy to lead and participate in investigations into such crimes. The project will provide five days of training to 25 candidates from Colombia and the surrounding region. Once their training is complete, trainees will be part of the Justice Rapid Response roster, ready to be deployed to international sexual violence-related investigations.

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