Colombia is still in the middle of a civil war, which has created situations where many Colombians are afraid to return. The government is fighting against groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). While the government has made significant efforts to improve the human rights situation, FARC and other groups routinely commit severe human rights abuses, and many of their victims have successfully applied for asylum in the United States
Persecution from FARC and Other Armed Groups
Normally, someone has to have a fear of persecution from the government in order to qualify for asylum. In some countries, though, there exists a group that has so much control over the area that the government cannot control them. FARC can be considered such a group in many circumstances, and Colombians have been successful being granted asylum based on persecution from FARC.
The United States Department of State lists some of the worst abuses, including “political killings; killings of members of the public security forces and local officials; widespread use of land mines; kidnappings and forced disappearances; subornation and intimidation of judges, prosecutors, and witnesses; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of movement; widespread recruitment and use of child soldiers; attacks against human rights activists; violence against women, including rape and forced abortions; and harassment, intimidation, and killings of teachers and trade unionists. Illegal armed groups continued to be responsible for most instances of forced displacement in the country.”
If you are a Colombian asylum seeker who is afraid of persecution from FARC, the biggest obstacle would be to prove that the persecution would be on account of your race, religion, national origin, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. A general fear of violence and criminal activity is not enough to make an asylum claim.
While the Colombian government has made many improvements to its human rights record, there are still many Colombians that may have a fear of persecution either by the government or persecution that the government will not stop. Violence against women is a huge problem in Colombia, especially rape and domestic violence. Under certain conditions, a victim of domestic violence can qualify for asylum. There is still a lot of corruption in Colombia, and certain racial minorities face discrimination.
If you are Colombian and interested in applying for asylum in the United States, New York Human Rights Committee may be able to help you. Call us at +1 (800) 560-1768 today. We are available 24/7.