Practice Relating to Rule 131. Treatment of Displaced Persons
Section A. Provision of basic necessities
Colombia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (1997) provides that once the displacement has occurred, the government shall take immediate action to guarantee emergency humanitarian aid with the aim of rescuing, assisting and protecting the displaced population and providing for its nutritional needs, personal hygiene, kitchen tools, medical and psychological care, emergency transport and temporary accommodation in humane conditions.
In 1996, in a case concerning the constitutionality of a decree which had ordered measures for the protection of the civilian population in military operations (Decree 2027 of 21 November 1995), Colombia’s Constitutional Court held that displaced persons had the right to receive humanitarian assistance and to be accorded protection by the State.
According to the Report on the Practice of Colombia, displaced persons have the right to receive humanitarian assistance, and the State’s duty to protect the displaced population is permanent and cannot be renounced in normal times or in states of exception, in accordance with Article 17 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II.
In 2004, in its third periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Colombia stated:
117. The [Government’s] Programme of Comprehensive Care for the Displaced Population and the Social Solidarity Network are trying to find ways to improve living conditions for displaced people by providing comprehensive assistance that will enable families to become productive again and to recover their emotional stability, either by returning to their place of origin or by relocating elsewhere in the country.
118. Under this programme, 9,923 million pesos was spent on emergency humanitarian assistance, which was sufficient to take care of 9,282 families in 18 departments in the country.