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Disaster Health. 2014 Jan 16;2(1):13-24. doi: 10.4161/dish.27885. eCollection 2014 Jan-Mar.

Internal displacement in Colombia: Fifteen distinguishing features.

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Center for Disaster & Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP Center); University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Miami FL USA.
Program in Public Health; Schools of Medicine and Government; Universidad de Los Andes; Bogota, Colombia.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Miami FL USA.


This commentary aims to delineate the distinguishing features of conflict-induced internal displacement in the nation of Colombia, South America. Even as Colombia is currently implementing a spectrum of legal, social, economic, and health programs for "victims of armed conflict," with particular focus on internally displaced persons (IDPs), the dynamics of forced migration on a mass scale within this country are little known beyond national borders.   The authors of this commentary are embarking on a global mental health research program in Bogota, Colombia to define best practices for reaching the displaced population and implementing sustainable, evidence-based screening and intervention for common mental disorders. Presenting the defining characteristics of internal displacement in Colombia provides the context for our work and, more importantly, conveys the compelling and complex nature of this humanitarian crisis. We attempt to demonstrate Colombia's unique position within the global patterning of internal displacement.


complex emergency; forced displacement; forced migration; humanitarian crisis; internal displacement; internally displaced persons; victims of armed conflict

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