Quarantined in the Crossfire: How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Shaping Conflict in Colombia   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Key Findings and Implications: "Drawing on 23 participatory workshops and 25 semi-structured interviews, with a total of 138 participants from 18 municipalities, we find COVID-19 and response measures in Colombia discernibly exacerbated pre-existing drivers of conflict. We mapped three main pathways through which the pandemic affected violence and instability: 1. 'The very measures imposed by the state to contain the virus significantly affected its ability to fulfill key functions, creating a void that illegal armed groups have exploited.' [...] 2. 'COVID-19 containment measures affected civil society and families, with increasing victimization and disruptions to important human rights work.' [...] 3. 'The pandemic increased insecurity through its detrimental impact on economic hardship and the growing reliance on illicit economies dominated by illegal armed groups.' [...] 'The findings from Colombia demonstrate that conflict is not immune to pandemic shocks and that public health responses cannot be disassociated from existing challenges and drivers of insecurity.' States must consider the differentiated impacts that measures such as lockdowns, social distancing and movement restrictions will have in conflict-affected areas, so that mitigating measures can be taken in parallel. Bold and holistic responses are necessary to prevent one crisis from feeding the other."

Mercy Corps
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