view all campaigns

Campaign Stories
  Alternatives to violence bring hope to Medellín
  Colombia: asking for my son's forgiveness
  Colombia: heed the victims of conflict
  Colombia: ineffective response to rise in IDPs
  Colombia: JRS efforts for peace & reconciliation
  Colombia: peace negotiations shine a ray of hope for refugees and displaced people
  Colombian refugees face stark choices
  Colombian Refugees in Ecuador and Panama
  Colombian refugees in legal limbo in Panama
  Colombian refugees in Panama and Ecuador still living on the edge
  Colombians displaced in Venezuela border region
  Conflict in Colombia normalizes sexual violence
  Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia
  Ecuador: chronicles of hospitality in Latin America
  Ecuador: JRS helps Colombian refugees
  Ecuador: Thousands of Colombian refugees at risk
  Facing adversity on the Colombia-Venezuela frontier
  Get Involved: National Days of Action for Colombia
  Invisible and Forgotten: Forcibly Displaced by Conflict in Colombia
  Latin America: non-refoulement at the borders, an essential principle
  Now is the Time for Peace with Justice in Colombia
  On Assignment in Colombia
  On Assignment in Ecuador
  On Assignment in Panama
  Panama: helping refugees integrate and adjust
  Panama: refugees look to a more hospitable future
  Refugee Crisis Simmers in Ecuador
  Statement of Support for the Jesuits of Colombia
  STOP! End the recruitment and use of children in war
  The Refugee Voice — Quiet Crisis: Colombian Refugees in Panama and Ecuador
  U.S. Faith Leaders Unite for Peace with Justice in Colombia
  Venezuela: Colombian refugees contribute to peace
  Video: Jesuit Refugee Service in Colombia
Connect with us
Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Eric Schwartzvisits with two dental hygienists who often see more than 100 patients a day. (PRM photo)

(Washington, D.C.) May 6, 2011 — Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) Eric Schwartz released a letter yesterday reflecting on a recent visit he made to Ecuador and Colombia. 

Mr. Schwartz said he went to "review the ongoing humanitarian challenges confronting displaced Colombians – refugees in Ecuador and internally displaced people in Colombia. Decades of conflict in Colombia have resulted in the displacement of millions of people from their homes – to urban centers, small towns and villages, and in some cases across international borders. During the trip, the work of PRM’s partners focused my attention on the importance of an integrated approach to resolving protracted humanitarian situations, and of seizing opportunities to develop local capacity for effective response."

He also notes that "Women-headed households are particularly vulnerable. During my visit to the town of Lago Agrio, near the Colombian border, I visited with one young mother of eight children. In her spare but tidy household, boards were nailed across the threshold to keep the youngest children from wandering outside, and the laundry she takes in every day hangs to dry from the security grates on the home’s windows and on lines strung across the yard. She keeps the youngest children home from school because she cannot pay to transport them safely to the nearest elementary school. Fortunately, the dedicated UNHCR team in Lago Agrio is working with an equally impressive group of local authority representatives to improve access to schools for refugee and local families so that situations such as this can become less common in the region."

Please click here to read the full text of Mr. Schwartz's letter, and to view photos from the trip.

Countries Related to this Region
United States of America