Jhoana tells her story to Marlon Langeland.

Jhoana, 20 years old, and her family had to flee after an armed attack in her village. Two of her brothers and her two cousins where killed. All male youth.

Jhoana grew up in a small village along the river in the region of Chocó, Colombia. She loved playing with her siblings and cousins, walking in the bush and went swimming. Her dream was to study veterinarian because her passion for animals. Her dream got tossed when the community repetitively was threatened and they eventually had to flee.

Armed attack
It was an ordinary day in March 2017 when Jhoana and other women were celebrating women’s day. The remaining village, mostly males, continued their normal activities when all of a sudden an armed group attacked. That night Jhoana couldn’t sleep due to nightmares and not knowing the extent of the attack and not being able to go back to the village before the next day.

The next day they witnessed several dead and wounded youths and she was devastated. Not one, but two of her elderly brothers had lost their lives. One where tied up and the other one was laying dead on a rooftop with rain poring down on the body. Furthermore, two cousins and a family friend, all young, and all males also lost their life’s. 

Today, the village is abandon and appears more like a ghost town. Jhoana and her family are now too afraid to return to their village because of the uncertainty that follows and if another armed attack will happen again.

Life today
Now, her daily activities are restricted to short trips; when she leaves the house, she does not go far and she coordinates her trips with relatives. A common daily activity can consist of meeting her cousins at the pier and watch them swim. Or, she will only hang out in their house. At home, where she spends most of her time, she writes her diary to cope with the armed attack and the loss of her two older brothers. She also does her homework in secondary school, or, she helps her mom with cooking and takes care of her 12-year-old niece, Yurani, that lost her dad in the armed attack. She now feels that she has to support her family because her parents are old and the two oldest brothers are gone. 

She continuously strives to stay positive and cope with the armed attack. “With the heart broken I have to be brave. Forget bad things and bring positive things. Even with this pain, I want to get ahead. I have to fight for positive things to happen”.

Hopes for the future
The only way she can fulfil her dream and help her family is to leave the village and continue studying, but there is no money to study for. “I now have a 12-year old niece and I would like to be a good example for her. My nieces father was killed in the armed attack and her mother died due to illness prior. Thus, if I go on to study and build my life I will then get a good job and she will hopefully acquire strength to achieve the same”. 

Jhoana is hoping for peace in Colombia, but she is not sure if that will happen. She has realized that there is no future in the village she is displaced and the road is unfortunately short for youth to armed groups and drugs. Thus, she believes the path lies in education and underline the importance to reach a common agreement in peace in order to progress the country. 

Message to youth
“If you want something you can achieve it, therefore you should proceed it”. “Even if someone hurts you, you have to be strong and get ahead”. She continues, “while you are alive you have to be brave, even if you smile outside and cry inside we should proceed with our dreams”. 

“Don’t believe in negative things, don’t fall into bad vicious, be ambitious in a positive matter, and fight for the future and don’t be defeated”.

Photo: Beate Simarud/NRC

NRC in Colombia

-	NRC has been present in Colombia since 1991.
-	NRC currently counts on 19 field offices in order to provide assistance to internally displaced and Colombians seeking international protection in the neighbouring countries. 
-	About 100.000 people benefited in 2017 from NRC´s programs (information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), education, regional refugee program and the roving capacity unit). Budget forecast 2017: 97.6 million NOK
-	Strategic priority for 2018 continues to be to address displacement and emergency related protection gaps and humanitarian need when the state is unable or unwilling to fulfil its obligations. The peace accord will increase the likelihood that durable solutions can be sought with more vigour. NRC will in this context increase efforts to contribute to durable solutions, both in Colombia and in neighbouring countries. 

Key facts
•	Humanitarian and protection challenges continue in Colombia. A six decade-long armed conflict has given Colombia the most prolonged and serious humanitarian crisis in the Americas. In total, more than 7.4 million people are forcibly displaced in Colombia by the conflict.
•	Since the signing of a peace agreement between FARC-EP and the government in November 2016, about 200,000 people have been displaced (nov 2016 – august 2018) – the equivalent of one person every 5 minutes. Rights defenders, indigenous and Afro- Colombian leaders, and other community activists face threats, killings and violence. Perpetrators are rarely held accountable.  
•	There are more than 191,622 Colombians refugees and in need of international protection in neighbouring Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela, according to UNCHR.
•	Forced displacement increased in 2018. During the first semester group displacement increased 112 % in comparison with the previous year (2017). 
•	During 2018, there was an increase (31 %) in the number of attacks against the civilian population, compared with 2017. Threats continue to be the primary mean of attack against the civilian population, although there was a growth in the number of homicides and intentional injuries targeting persons who were under state protection schemes.
•	9 in 10 people displaced by Colombia's civil war have not yet received compensation promised for crimes committed against them. Over 8,7 million Colombians are registered with the Government’s National Unit for Victims. However, only one out three applications for compensation by the 2011 Victim’s Law in Colombia has been approved. Despite GOC efforts allocating important resources ensure the implementation of the law, the efforts needs to be increased. 
•	During 2018, 77 % of the people recorded in massive displacement events belongs to farmers, 11 % indigenous and 11 % afro Colombian communities.  
•	The peace agreement between FARC-EP and the Colombian government is a positive development, but the dynamics of armed conflict and other forms of violence are in flux. Other irregular armed groups have increased their actions in the shadow of the ceasefire, and the clash with these groups is causing the majority of new humanitarian needs.
•	NRC recorded 22 events that affected the continuity of thousands of children attending classes during the first trimester of 2018. 7 IHL serious violations against schools have been reported in the first semester of 2018 and forced recruitment into armed groups  appear to increase this year.
•	Of the total resources requested (156.5 Millions) by the Country Humanitarian Team, only 22 % has been financed (OCHA July 2018)
Les billedteksten I fjor trengte væpnede menn seg inn mellom husene og henrettet fem mennesker i landsbyen til Jhoana (20).To av de drepte var storebrødrene hennes. Foto: Beate Simarud/Flyktninghjelpen

Colombia: Massakren som endret hele lokalsamfunnet

Gro Kirkeby|Publisert 19. okt 2018
– Det verste var å se hvordan de var drept og etterlatt, forteller Jhoana om dagen da væpnede menn tok livet av begge brødrene hennes. Selv flyktet hun for livet.

Jhoana fortalte historien sin da hun nylig møtte Marlon Langeland i Colombia.

To år etter fredsavtalen er konflikten i Colombia i ferd med å sette en ny generasjon unge mennesker i fare. Det har tjue år gamle Jhoana fått erfare på verst tenkelige måte.

Følg Marlon's Journey på Instagram - se episoden fra Colombia her

Hvem drepte brødrene?

– Det er en forferdelig stillhet her. Marlon Langeland har nettopp klatret opp den gjengrodde elvekanten til en landsby to timer opp San Juan-elven vest i Colombia. En stille solskinnsdag i fjor trengte væpnede menn seg inn mellom husene her og henrettet fem mennesker.

To av dem var storebrødrene til Jhoana.

– Det verste var å se hvordan de var drept og etterlatt. En av brødrene mine var bundet. Den andre var forlatt på et hustak, forteller 20-åringen.

Hun har vært sint lenge, men velger å se fremover – for ikke å bli bitter, for å overleve. Men, hun sitter igjen med flere spørsmål enn svar etter det brutale angrepet: Hvem var mennene som kom til landsbyen den dagen? Hvorfor drepte de brødrene hennes?

Les: Volden fortsetter etter fredsavtalen

Jeg er fremdeles redd for å gå utendørs. Det som skjedde med familien min kan også skje med meg hvis jeg drar tilbake.
Jhoana (20), på flukt i Colombia
The former house of Jhoana and her family in the village where the armed attack took place. The two crosses symbolise the death of Jhoana's two brothers.

Jhoana, 20 years old, and her family had to flee after an armed attack in her village. Two of her brothers and her two cousins where killed. All male youth.

Jhoana grew up in a small village along the river in the region of Chocó, Colombia. She loved playing with her siblings and cousins, walking in the bush and went swimming. Her dream was to study veterinarian because her passion for animals. Her dream got tossed when the community repetitively was threatened and they eventually had to flee.

Armed attack
It was an ordinary day in March 2017 when Jhoana and other women were celebrating women’s day. The remaining village, mostly males, continued their normal activities when all of a sudden an armed group attacked. That night Jhoana couldn’t sleep due to nightmares and not knowing the extent of the attack and not being able to go back to the village before the next day.

The next day they witnessed several dead and wounded youths and she was devastated. Not one, but two of her elderly brothers had lost their lives. One where tied up and the other one was laying dead on a rooftop with rain poring down on the body. Furthermore, two cousins and a family friend, all young, and all males also lost their life’s. 

Today, the village is abandon and appears more like a ghost town. Jhoana and her family are now too afraid to return to their village because of the uncertainty that follows and if another armed attack will happen again.

Life today
Now, her daily activities are restricted to short trips; when she leaves the house, she does not go far and she coordinates her trips with relatives. A common daily activity can consist of meeting her cousins at the pier and watch them swim. Or, she will only hang out in their house. At home, where she spends most of her time, she writes her diary to cope with the armed attack and the loss of her two older brothers. She also does her homework in secondary school, or, she helps her mom with cooking and takes care of her 12-year-old niece, Yurani, that lost her dad in the armed attack. She now feels that she has to support her family because her parents are old and the two oldest brothers are gone. 

She continuously strives to stay positive and cope with the armed attack. “With the heart broken I have to be brave. Forget bad things and bring positive things. Even with this pain, I want to get ahead. I have to fight for positive things to happen”.

Hopes for the future
The only way she can fulfil her dream and help her family is to leave the village and continue studying, but there is no money to study for. “I now have a 12-year old niece and I would like to be a good example for her. My nieces father was killed in the armed attack and her mother died due to illness prior. Thus, if I go on to study and build my life I will then get a good job and she will hopefully acquire strength to achieve the same”. 

Jhoana is hoping for peace in Colombia, but she is not sure if that will happen. She has realized that there is no future in the village she is displaced and the road is unfortunately short for youth to armed groups and drugs. Thus, she believes the path lies in education and underline the importance to reach a common agreement in peace in order to progress the country. 

Message to youth
“If you want something you can achieve it, therefore you should proceed it”. “Even if someone hurts you, you have to be strong and get ahead”. She continues, “while you are alive you have to be brave, even if you smile outside and cry inside we should proceed with our dreams”. 

“Don’t believe in negative things, don’t fall into bad vicious, be ambitious in a positive matter, and fight for the future and don’t be defeated”.

Photo: Beate Simarud/NRC

NRC in Colombia

-	NRC has been present in Colombia since 1991.
-	NRC currently counts on 19 field offices in order to provide assistance to internally displaced and Colombians seeking international protection in the neighbouring countries. 
-	About 100.000 people benefited in 2017 from NRC´s programs (information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), education, regional refugee program and the roving capacity unit). Budget forecast 2017: 97.6 million NOK
-	Strategic priority for 2018 continues to be to address displacement and emergency related protection gaps and humanitarian need when the state is unable or unwilling to fulfil its obligations. The peace accord will increase the likelihood that durable solutions can be sought with more vigour. NRC will in this context increase efforts to contribute to durable solutions, both in Colombia and in neighbouring countries. 

Key facts
•	Humanitarian and protection challenges continue in Colombia. A six decade-long armed conflict has given Colombia the most prolonged and serious humanitarian crisis in the Americas. In total, more than 7.4 million people are forcibly displaced in Colombia by the conflict.
•	Since the signing of a peace agreement between FARC-EP and the government in November 2016, about 200,000 people have been displaced (nov 2016 – august 2018) – the equivalent of one person every 5 minutes. Rights defenders, indigenous and Afro- Colombian leaders, and other community activists face threats, killings and violence. Perpetrators are rarely held accountable.  
•	There are more than 191,622 Colombians refugees and in need of international protection in neighbouring Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela, according to UNCHR.
•	Forced displacement increased in 2018. During the first semester group displacement increased 112 % in comparison with the previous year (2017). 
•	During 2018, there was an increase (31 %) in the number of attacks against the civilian population, compared with 2017. Threats continue to be the primary mean of attack against the civilian population, although there was a growth in the number of homicides and intentional injuries targeting persons who were under state protection schemes.
•	9 in 10 people displaced by Colombia's civil war have not yet received compensation promised for crimes committed against them. Over 8,7 million Colombians are registered with the Government’s National Unit for Victims. However, only one out three applications for compensation by the 2011 Victim’s Law in Colombia has been approved. Despite GOC efforts allocating important resources ensure the implementation of the law, the efforts needs to be increased. 
•	During 2018, 77 % of the people recorded in massive displacement events belongs to farmers, 11 % indigenous and 11 % afro Colombian communities.  
•	The peace agreement between FARC-EP and the Colombian government is a positive development, but the dynamics of armed conflict and other forms of violence are in flux. Other irregular armed groups have increased their actions in the shadow of the ceasefire, and the clash with these groups is causing the majority of new humanitarian needs.
•	NRC recorded 22 events that affected the continuity of thousands of children attending classes during the first trimester of 2018. 7 IHL serious violations against schools have been reported in the first semester of 2018 and forced recruitment into armed groups  appear to increase this year.
•	Of the total resources requested (156.5 Millions) by the Country Humanitarian Team, only 22 % has been financed (OCHA July 2018)
Les billedteksten Ingen har bodd i landsbyen til Jhoana siden angrepet i fjor. Gresset er høyt, og gjennom vinduene i huset hennes kan man skimte barnetegninger og bilder på veggene. Utenfor står to kors til minne om de to drepte brødrene. Foto: Beate Simarud/Flyktninghjelpen


Volden mot sivile i Colombia har økt det siste året. Fredsavtalen mellom myndighetene og den væpnede gruppen FARC-EP skulle være starten på en trygg og bedre fremtid for befolkningen. På landsbygda driver angrep stadig flere mennesker på flukt, og antall massefordrivelser, slik som i landsbyen til Jhoana, har økt med svimlende 110 prosent fra i fjor.   

Fakta om Colombia
  • Over 7,4 millioner mennesker er på flukt i Colombia som følge av konflikten.
  • Antallet massefordrivelser i landet økte med 112 prosent første halvdel av 2018 sammenlignet med 2017.
  • Siden signeringen av fredsavtalen mellom FARC-EP og regjeringen i november 2016, har om lag 200.000 mennesker blitt tvunget på flukt (november 2016 - august 2018).
  • Hjelpeorganisasjonene på bakken har kun mottatt 22 prosent av pengene de trenger for å nå ut til mennesker som trenger nødhjelp.

Spøkelseslandsbyen ingen tør å reise tilbake til

Når båten legger til land, er det en spøkelseslandsby som kommer til syne foran oss. Gresset er høyt, og gjennom vinduene i huset som var Jhoanas hjem kan man skimte barnetegninger og bilder på veggene.

Ingen har bodd her siden angrepet i fjor.

– Jeg er fremdeles redd for å gå utendørs. Det som skjedde med familien min kan også skje med meg hvis jeg drar tilbake, forteller Jhoana. 

Nå bor hun i en annen landsby.

– Hvorfor gjør folk noe slikt som dette? Jeg trodde jeg skulle forstå mer av å komme hit, men jeg gjør ikke det, sier Marlon og stirrer blankt fremfor seg der han står.

Jhoana, 20 years old, and her family had to flee after a massacre in her village. Two of her brothers and her two cousins where killed. All male youth.

Jhoana grew up in a small village along the river in the region of Chocó, Colombia. She loved playing with her siblings and cousins, walking in the bush and went swimming. Her dream was to study veterinarian because her passion for animals. Her dream got tossed when the community repetitively was threatened and they eventually had to flee.

The massacre
It was an ordinary day in March 2017 when Jhoana and other women were celebrating women’s day. The remaining village, mostly males, continued their normal activities when all of a sudden an armed group attacked. That night Jhoana couldn’t sleep due to nightmares and not knowing the extent of the massacre and not being able to go back to the village before the next day.

The next day they witnessed several dead and wounded youths and she was devastated. Not one, but two of her elderly brothers had lost their lives. One where tied up and the other one was laying dead on a rooftop with rain poring down on the body. Furthermore, two cousins and a family friend, all young, and all males also lost their life’s. 

Today, the village is abandon and appears more like a ghost town. Jhoana and her family are now too afraid to return to their village because of the uncertainty that follows and if another massacre will happen again.

Life today
Now, her daily activities are restricted to short trips; when she leaves the house, she does not go far and she coordinates her trips with relatives. A common daily activity can consist of meeting her cousins at the pier and watch them swim. Or, she will only hang out in their house. At home, where she spends most of her time, she writes her diary to cope with the massacre and the loss of her two older brothers. She also does her homework in secondary school, or, she helps her mom with cooking and takes care of her 12-year-old niece, Yurani, that lost her dad in the massacre. She now feels that she has to support her family because her parents are old and the two oldest brothers are gone. 

She continuously strives to stay positive and cope with the massacre. “With the heart broken I have to be brave. Forget bad things and bring positive things. Even with this pain, I want to get ahead. I have to fight for positive things to happen”.

Hopes for the future
The only way she can fulfil her dream and help her family is to leave the village and continue studying, but there is no money to study for. “I now have a 12-year old niece and I would like to be a good example for her. My nieces father was killed in the massacre and her mother died due to illness prior. Thus, if I go on to study and build my life I will then get a good job and she will hopefully acquire strength to achieve the same”. 

Jhoana is hoping for peace in Colombia, but she is not sure if that will happen. She has realized that there is no future in the village she is displaced and the road is unfortunately short for youth to armed groups and drugs. Thus, she believes the path lies in education and underline the importance to reach a common agreement in peace in order to progress the country. 

Message to youth
“If you want something you can achieve it, therefore you should proceed it”. “Even if someone hurts you, you have to be strong and get ahead”. She continues, “while you are alive you have to be brave, even if you smile outside and cry inside we should proceed with our dreams”. 

“Don’t believe in negative things, don’t fall into bad vicious, be ambitious in a positive matter, and fight for the future and don’t be defeated”.

Photo: Beate Simarud/NRC

NRC in Colombia:
-	NRC has been present in Colombia since 1991.
-	NRC currently counts on 19 field offices in order to provide assistance to internally displaced and Colombians seeking international protection in the neighbouring countries. 
-	About 100.000 people benefited in 2017 from NRC´s programs (information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), education, regional refugee program and the roving capacity unit). Budget forecast 2017: 97.6 million NOK
-	Strategic priority for 2018 continues to be to address displacement and emergency related protection gaps and humanitarian need when the state is unable or unwilling to fulfil its obligations. The peace accord will increase the likelihood that durable solutions can be sought with more vigour. NRC will in this context increase efforts to contribute to durable solutions, both in Colombia and in neighbouring countries. 

Key facts:
•	Humanitarian and protection challenges continue in Colombia. A six decade-long armed conflict has given Colombia the most prolonged and serious humanitarian crisis in the Americas. In total, more than 7.4 million people are forcibly displaced in Colombia by the conflict.
•	Since the signing of a peace agreement between FARC-EP and the government in November 2016, about 200,000 people have been displaced (nov 2016 – august 2018) – the equivalent of one person every 5 minutes. Rights defenders, indigenous and Afro- Colombian leaders, and other community activists face threats, killings and violence. Perpetrators are rarely held accountable.  
•	There are more than 191,622 Colombians refugees and in need of international protection in neighbouring Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela, according to UNCHR.
•	Forced displacement increased in 2018. During the first semester group displacement increased 112 % in comparison with the previous year (2017). 
•	During 2018, there was an increase (31 %) in the number of attacks against the civilian population, compared with 2017. Threats continue to be the primary mean of attack against the civilian population, although there was a growth in the number of homicides and intentional injuries targeting persons who were under state protection schemes.
•	9 in 10 people displaced by Colombia's civil war have not yet received compensation promised for crimes committed against them. Over 8,7 million Colombians are registered with the Government’s National Unit for Victims. However, only one out three applications for compensation by the 2011 Victim’s Law in Colombia has been approved. Despite GOC efforts allocating important resources ensure the implementation of the law, the efforts needs to be increased. 
•	During 2018, 77 % of the people recorded in massive displacement events belongs to farmers, 11 % indigenous and 11 % afro Colombian communities.  
•	The peace agreement between FARC-EP and the Colombian government is a positive development, but the dynamics of armed conflict and other forms of violence are in flux. Other irregular armed groups have increased their actions in the shadow of the ceasefire, and the clash with these groups is causing the majority of new humanitarian needs.
•	NRC recorded 22 events that affected the continuity of thousands of children attending classes during the first trimester of 2018. 7 IHL serious violations against schools have been reported in the first semester of 2018 and forced recruitment into armed groups  appear to increase this year.
•	Of the total resources requested (156.5 Millions) by the Country Humanitarian Team, only 22 % has been financed (OCHA July 2018)
Les billedteksten Jhoana og Nilson har flere venner som også har blitt tvunget på flukt av volden i Colombia. Flyktninghjelpen jobber blant annet for å skape trygge skoler, sørge for god undervisning og gi ungdom og unge voksne tilgang til skole og yrkesutdanning i landet. Foto: Beate Simarud/Flyktninghjelpen


Freden lar vente på seg

To år har gått siden fredsavtalen, men siden FARC la ned våpnene har 200.000 menneskene blitt tvunget på flukt.

Andre væpnede grupper har økt aktiviteten etter våpenhvilen mellom FARC og den colombianske regjeringen, og sammenstøt mellom disse gruppene fører til nye humanitære behov. Til sammen er hele 1,6 millioner colombianske ungdommer som Jhoana på flukt i landet.

Nilson (22)  var hjemme i landsbyen den dagen mennene kom med geværer og skjøt alle de fant. Han unnslapp kulene, men sliter fortsatt med minnene.

— De snakket ikke med noen. De så bare rett frem og begynte å drepe alle – uten å si noe.  

Nå drømmer han om et liv fylt av dagligdagse ting, som utdanning og jobb. Han vil gjerne fortsette på skolen, men akkurat nå har han nok med å takle de vonde følelsene fra angrepet.  

Les billedteksten Nilson (22) drømmer om et liv fylt av dagligdagse ting, som utdanning og jobb. Han vil gjerne fortsette på skolen, men akkurat nå har han nok med å takle de vonde følelsene fra angrepet. Foto: Beate Simarud/Flyktninghjelpen
De snakket ikke med noen. De så bare rett frem og begynte å drepe alle – uten å si noe.  
Nilson (22), på flukt i Colombia

Utrygge skoler og sosiale skiller

— Mange barn og unge i Colombia ligger flere år etter med skolegangen sin fordi skoler stadig blir angrepet som følge av konflikten, sier Christian Visnes, som leder Flyktninghjelpens arbeid i Colombia. 

I tillegg er det store sosiale ulikheter i landet, og 80 prosent av dem som er på flukt lever under fattigdomsgrensa. En tredel av disse lever i ekstrem fattigdom. Ungdom og unge voksne sliter med å skaffe bolig og jobb.

— Ungdom som er rammet av konflikten har rett til utdanning, yrkesopplæring og jobbmuligheter, men disse rettighetene er foreløpig bare på papiret, sier Visnes. 

Dette gjør vi i Colombia
  • Flyktninghjelpen har vært til stede i Colombia siden 1991.
  • Om lag 100.000 mennesker mottok støtte fra Flyktninghjelpen i 2017  gjennom arbeidet vårt med rettshjelp, utdanning, regionale programmer og nødhjelpsteam. 
  • Flyktninghjelpen driver for tiden utdanningsprogrammer i 26 områder der tidligere FARC-EP-soldater mottar hjelp til å komme seg tilbake til samfunnet. 6,597 mennesker har fått et utdaninngstilbud gjennom programmet. Av disse er 52 prosent tidligere FARC-EP soldater, og 48 prosent er sivile som har bodd i konfliktområder.
  • Les mer om arbeidet vårt i Colombia her: https://www.flyktninghjelpen.no/herjobbervi/amerika/vart-landprogram-i-colombia/

I Colombia jobber Flyktninghjelpen blant annet for å skape trygge skoler, sørge for god undervisning og gi ungdom og unge voksne tilgang til skole og yrkesutdanning. Vi hjelper ungdom med å bygge seg en fremtid, bidra i fredsbyggingen og bygge nettverk på tvers av sosiale, kulturelle og politiske ulikheter.

Visnes mener Marlon Langelands innsats i Colombia bidrar til å gi en viktig stemme til ungdom som Jhoana og Nilson. 

— Marlons reise er en mulighet til å skape oppmerksomhet rundt den humanitære situasjonen i Colombia. For å oppnå varig fred må vi gi de unge som er rammet av konflikten en grunn til å tro at de kan få en trygg og bedre fremtid, sier han.

Følg Marlon's Journey på Instagram - se episoden fra Colombia her

Jhoana, 20 years old, and her family had to flee after a massacre in her village. Two of her brothers and her two cousins where killed. All male youth.

Jhoana grew up in a small village along the river in the region of Chocó, Colombia. She loved playing with her siblings and cousins, walking in the bush and went swimming. Her dream was to study veterinarian because her passion for animals. Her dream got tossed when the community repetitively was threatened and they eventually had to flee.

The massacre
It was an ordinary day in March 2017 when Jhoana and other women were celebrating women’s day. The remaining village, mostly males, continued their normal activities when all of a sudden an armed group attacked. That night Jhoana couldn’t sleep due to nightmares and not knowing the extent of the massacre and not being able to go back to the village before the next day.

The next day they witnessed several dead and wounded youths and she was devastated. Not one, but two of her elderly brothers had lost their lives. One where tied up and the other one was laying dead on a rooftop with rain poring down on the body. Furthermore, two cousins and a family friend, all young, and all males also lost their life’s. 

Today, the village is abandon and appears more like a ghost town. Jhoana and her family are now too afraid to return to their village because of the uncertainty that follows and if another massacre will happen again.

Life today
Now, her daily activities are restricted to short trips; when she leaves the house, she does not go far and she coordinates her trips with relatives. A common daily activity can consist of meeting her cousins at the pier and watch them swim. Or, she will only hang out in their house. At home, where she spends most of her time, she writes her diary to cope with the massacre and the loss of her two older brothers. She also does her homework in secondary school, or, she helps her mom with cooking and takes care of her 12-year-old niece, Yurani, that lost her dad in the massacre. She now feels that she has to support her family because her parents are old and the two oldest brothers are gone. 

She continuously strives to stay positive and cope with the massacre. “With the heart broken I have to be brave. Forget bad things and bring positive things. Even with this pain, I want to get ahead. I have to fight for positive things to happen”.

Hopes for the future
The only way she can fulfil her dream and help her family is to leave the village and continue studying, but there is no money to study for. “I now have a 12-year old niece and I would like to be a good example for her. My nieces father was killed in the massacre and her mother died due to illness prior. Thus, if I go on to study and build my life I will then get a good job and she will hopefully acquire strength to achieve the same”. 

Jhoana is hoping for peace in Colombia, but she is not sure if that will happen. She has realized that there is no future in the village she is displaced and the road is unfortunately short for youth to armed groups and drugs. Thus, she believes the path lies in education and underline the importance to reach a common agreement in peace in order to progress the country. 

Message to youth
“If you want something you can achieve it, therefore you should proceed it”. “Even if someone hurts you, you have to be strong and get ahead”. She continues, “while you are alive you have to be brave, even if you smile outside and cry inside we should proceed with our dreams”. 

“Don’t believe in negative things, don’t fall into bad vicious, be ambitious in a positive matter, and fight for the future and don’t be defeated”.

Photo: Beate Simarud/NRC

NRC in Colombia:
-	NRC has been present in Colombia since 1991.
-	NRC currently counts on 19 field offices in order to provide assistance to internally displaced and Colombians seeking international protection in the neighbouring countries. 
-	About 100.000 people benefited in 2017 from NRC´s programs (information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), education, regional refugee program and the roving capacity unit). Budget forecast 2017: 97.6 million NOK
-	Strategic priority for 2018 continues to be to address displacement and emergency related protection gaps and humanitarian need when the state is unable or unwilling to fulfil its obligations. The peace accord will increase the likelihood that durable solutions can be sought with more vigour. NRC will in this context increase efforts to contribute to durable solutions, both in Colombia and in neighbouring countries. 

Key facts:
•	Humanitarian and protection challenges continue in Colombia. A six decade-long armed conflict has given Colombia the most prolonged and serious humanitarian crisis in the Americas. In total, more than 7.4 million people are forcibly displaced in Colombia by the conflict.
•	Since the signing of a peace agreement between FARC-EP and the government in November 2016, about 200,000 people have been displaced (nov 2016 – august 2018) – the equivalent of one person every 5 minutes. Rights defenders, indigenous and Afro- Colombian leaders, and other community activists face threats, killings and violence. Perpetrators are rarely held accountable.  
•	There are more than 191,622 Colombians refugees and in need of international protection in neighbouring Ecuador, Panamá and Venezuela, according to UNCHR.
•	Forced displacement increased in 2018. During the first semester group displacement increased 112 % in comparison with the previous year (2017). 
•	During 2018, there was an increase (31 %) in the number of attacks against the civilian population, compared with 2017. Threats continue to be the primary mean of attack against the civilian population, although there was a growth in the number of homicides and intentional injuries targeting persons who were under state protection schemes.
•	9 in 10 people displaced by Colombia's civil war have not yet received compensation promised for crimes committed against them. Over 8,7 million Colombians are registered with the Government’s National Unit for Victims. However, only one out three applications for compensation by the 2011 Victim’s Law in Colombia has been approved. Despite GOC efforts allocating important resources ensure the implementation of the law, the efforts needs to be increased. 
•	During 2018, 77 % of the people recorded in massive displacement events belongs to farmers, 11 % indigenous and 11 % afro Colombian communities.  
•	The peace agreement between FARC-EP and the Colombian government is a positive development, but the dynamics of armed conflict and other forms of violence are in flux. Other irregular armed groups have increased their actions in the shadow of the ceasefire, and the clash with these groups is causing the majority of new humanitarian needs.
•	NRC recorded 22 events that affected the continuity of thousands of children attending classes during the first trimester of 2018. 7 IHL serious violations against schools have been reported in the first semester of 2018 and forced recruitment into armed groups  appear to increase this year.
•	Of the total resources requested (156.5 Millions) by the Country Humanitarian Team, only 22 % has been financed (OCHA July 2018)
Les billedteksten Jhoana skriver dagbok for å bearbeide minnene fra massakren i landsbyen. Foto: Beate Simarud/Flyktninghjelpen