Colombia

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

10,621

New asylum applications

2019

634

Refugees

2019

1,142,319

International migrants

2019

Overview

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

13 July 2020

Venezuelan Migrants in Colombia Trying to Reach the Border to Return to their Country, (Stefano Pozzebon, “Venezuelan Migrants Fleeing Covid-19 Get Stuck at Border,” CNN, accessed on 14 July 2020, https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2020/07/13/venezuela-migrants-covid19-stuck-border-colombia-pozzebon-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus-intl/)
Venezuelan Migrants in Colombia Trying to Reach the Border to Return to their Country, (Stefano Pozzebon, “Venezuelan Migrants Fleeing Covid-19 Get Stuck at Border,” CNN, accessed on 14 July 2020, https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2020/07/13/venezuela-migrants-covid19-stuck-border-colombia-pozzebon-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus-intl/)

According to the Colombian Ministry of Health, as of 23 June, Colombia had 73,572 cases of Covid-19 and 2,404 deaths related to the disease. As reported by CNN, Venezuelan migrant workers, who left the country when its economy collapsed, are now returning as Covid-19 cases surge across Latin America. The Colombia-Venezuela border crossing has been closed since March and migrants wishing to return to Venezuela find themselves stranded at the border in Cucuta.

According to UNHCR, on 5 June Colombia’s migration authority issued Resolution No. 1265, which outlines the protocol for the return of Venezuelans and details coordination measures between local authorities, Colombia’s immigration authority (Migracion Colombia), local health institutions, and the police. Under this resolution, Venezuelans who decide to return are at risk of losing their refugee status or having their application for asylum rejected.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has called its own citizens “biological weapons” and accused Colombia and other governments of infecting them with Covid-19 to spread the pandemic across Venezuela. Colombia has categorically rejected these accusations, calling them deplorable.

As reported by UNHCR, quotas have been established for the maximum number of returnees that can be received in Venezuela via the humanitarian corridor that is open three days a week (100 people per return day via the Arauca border crossing and 300 per return day in Cucuta). Everyone else must wait in makeshift migrant camps, where many have been waiting for weeks in worsening conditions. Social distancing is non-existent in the Cucuta camp, which increases the risk of contagion and spread of Covid-19. In addition, without toilets or adequate medicines, and with exposed raw sewage and waste, the camps expose children and families to other serious illnesses.

Al Jazeera reported in June that at least 500 Venezuelan migrants who had been left jobless and homeless during the pandemic, built a makeshift camp in the outskirts of Bogota. Most are trying to return home, but the Colombian authorities were preventing them from continuing their trip after the Venezuelan government began limiting the number of returnees, causing bottlenecks along the route. This camp has no running water or electricity and people survive from the charity of others that bring them food and supplies.

UNHCR and its partners are concerned over the increased risks of forced recruitment of adolescents by armed groups. As a result of quarantine measures, families face economic hardship and are therefore more vulnerable to pressure from armed groups. The National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences reported that nine Venezuelan women were killed during the period of mandatory isolation that began on 20 March, representing a 12% increase from the same period in 2019. Also, the Children’s Delegate of the Ombudsperson’s Office identified 54 unaccompanied and separated Venezuelan children in North Santander, 129 in Arauca and 107 in Guajira during the Covid-19 crisis. From 16 March to 12 June, UNHCR registered 2,206 cases of children at risk and 90 cases of unaccompanied and separated children.


02 April 2020

A Wall of the Modelo Prison in Bogota, Colombia, (https://colombiareports.com/colombia-to-release-more-than-10000-inmates-from-prison-over-coronavirus-fears/)
A Wall of the Modelo Prison in Bogota, Colombia, (https://colombiareports.com/colombia-to-release-more-than-10000-inmates-from-prison-over-coronavirus-fears/)

Migrants and refugees in Colombia find themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation due to the Covid-19 crisis and the measures taken by the government, including confinement and border closures. Many have lost their homes and been left on the street as they are not able to afford rent. UNHCR has urged the country to adopt measures to support all vulnerable populations during the pandemic. However, of the 33 emergency decrees issued by the government to date as a consequence of the pandemic, none of them mention support for migrants. The GDP has been unable to find any reports indicating the measures taken to assist migrants and asylum seekers in detention.

It is likely that people arrested for immigraiton reasons are held in prisons or police stations. Colombia’s President Ivan Duque announced the suspension of visits to all of the country’s 132 prisons until adequate measures are put in place to ensure that Covid-19 does not spread within prisons. On 25 March 2020, the “National Carceral Movement” denounced the use of firearms and tear gas by the prison administration in response to a peaceful protest. The group of prisoners reports that 39 detainees were injured. The Ministry of Justice subsequently decided that 10,850 particularly vulnerable prisoners would be released and placed under “transitory house arrest” to mitigate the risk of infection. Prisoners that will be allowed to leave are those older than 60, nursing mothers, severely ill inmates and prisoners with sentences lower than five years who have served the obligatory three-firth of their sentence, but were never released.


Last updated:

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
2019
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
2017
Criminal prison population
119,269
2017
119,815
2014
120,032
2013
84,444
2010
63,603
2007
68,020
2004
49,302
2001
44,398
1998
33,258
1995
27,316
1992
Percentage of foreign prisoners
0.7
2017
0.7
2014
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
236
2017
246
2014
247
2013
181
2010
142
2007
159
2004
121
2001
115
1998
90
1995
78
1992
Population
50,900,000
2020
48,229,000
2015
International migrants
1,142,319
2019
133,100
2015
International migrants as a percentage of the population
0.3
2015
Refugees
634
2019
310
2018
277
2017
221
2016
226
2015
213
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
0.01
2016
Total number of new asylum applications
10,621
2019
399
2016
720
2014
Refugee recognition rate
22.9
2014
Stateless persons
11
2016
12
2015
Number of immigration detainees on a given day
Top nationalities of detainees
Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention
Number of detained asylum seekers
Number of detained unaccompanied minors
Number of detained accompanied minors
Number of detained stateless persons
Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population
Estimated total immigration detention capacity
Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
Number of immigration offices
Number of transit facilities
Number of criminal facilities
Number of ad hoc facilities
Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
Number of deportations/forced returns only
Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures
Estimated number of undocumented migrants

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
7,903
2014
Remittances to the country
4,232
2014
Unemployment Rate
2014
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
1,221.3
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
97 (Medium)
2015
Remittances from the country
Unemployment rate amongst migrants
Detention for deterrence
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
Immigration Index Score
World Bank Rule of Law Index
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Civil law
2017
Constitutional guarantees?
Yes (Articles 28 and 29) 1991 2018
1991
Core pieces of national legislation
Decreto Numero 4000 de 2004, por el cual se dictan disposiciones sobre la expedición de visas, control de extranjeros y se dictan otras disposiciones en materia de migración (2004)
2004
Decreto Numero 834 de 2013, por el cual se establecen disposiciones en materia migratoria de la República de Colombia (2013)
2013
Decreto Numero 1067 de 2015, por medio del cual se expide el Decreto Único Reglamentario del Sector Administrativo de Relaciones Exteriores (2015)
2015
Decreto 4062 de 2011, por el cual se crea la Unidad Administrativa Especial Migración Colombia, se establece su objetivo y estructura (2011)
2011
Additional legislation
Decreto 2840 de 2013, por el cual se establece el Procedimiento para el Reconocimiento de la Condición de Refugiado, se dictan normas sobre la Comisión Asesora para la Determinación de la Condición de Refugiado y otras disposiciones (2013)
2013
Immigration-status-related grounds
Detention to establish/verify identity and nationality
2004
Detention to effect removal
2004
Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
Unaccompanied minors () No
2019
Regulations, standards, guidelines
Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation.
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration
Has the country decriminalized immigration-related violations?
Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
Longest recorded instance of immigration detention.
Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order
Average length of detention
Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers
Maximum length of detention for persons detained upon arrival at ports of entry
Provision of basic procedural standards
Types of non-custodial measures
Impact of alternatives
Mandatory detention
Expedited/fast track removal
Re-entry ban

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2007
2007
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1969
1969
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
2/9
2/9
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies
Recommendation Year
Committee on Migrant Workers

§23. The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary steps to ensure that migration status checks are conducted in a way that does not violate the rights of the persons concerned, particularly the right to integrity of the person. The Committee also recommends that the State party ensure that the procedures used when detaining migrant workers and members of their families who are in an irregular situation, including those who are in transit, are in accordance with articles 16 and 17 of the Convention. The Committee invites the State party to make sure that conditions in temporary migrant holding centres meet international standards.

2013
2013
Committee on Migrant Workers

§21.The Committee noted that the centres run by the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) are used to detain migrants in an irregular situation. However, the Committee is concerned at gaps in the information provided by the State party with regard to the procedures for the detention of migrants by the Administrative Department of Security.

§22. The Committee invites the State party to provide detailed information on the procedures applied by the Administrative Department of Security for the detention of migrant workers and members of their families. The Committee would also like to receive detailed information on the registration system and the physical conditions of the facilities in which migrants are held in the DAS centres.

§23.The Committee notes that it is planned to establish a migrants’ reception centre in the near future.

§24. The Committee recommends that the State party finalize its plans for a migrants’ reception centre, so as to establish a special centre to receive migrant workers and their family members, which respects and guarantees the rights enshrined in the Convention.

2009
2009
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHR, American Convention on Human Rights 1973
1973
IACPPT, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture 1998
1998
APACHR, Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1997
1997
CBDP, Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) 1996
1996
IACFDP, Inter-American convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons 2005
2005
Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council
Year of Visit
Observation Date
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance 1996
1996
2015
Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences 2001
2001
2015
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance 2003
2003
2015
Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health 2007
2007
2015
Working Group on arbitrary detention 2008
2008
2015
Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions 2009
2009
2015
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2009
2017
No 2013
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
International treaty reservations
Treaty bodies decisions on individual complaints
Regional treaty reservations
Regional judicial decisions on individual complaints
Recommendations issued by regional human rights mechanisms
Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission
Relevant recommendations by UN Special Procedures

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

Custodial authority
()
Federal or centralized governing system
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority
Apprehending authorities
Detention Facility Management
Formally designated detention estate?
Types of detention facilities used in practice
Authorized monitoring institutions
Is the national human rights institution (NHRI) recognized as independent?
Does NHRI carry out visits?
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints?
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Does national preventive mechanism (NPM) carry out visits?
Does NPM have capacity to receive complaints?
Does NPM publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Do NGOs carry out visits?
NGO capacity to receive complaints?
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?
Do parliamentary organs carry out visits?
Do parliamentary organs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do parliamentary organs publicly report on their detention findings?
Do internal inspection agencies (IIAs) carry out visits?
Do IIAs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do IIAs publicly report their findings from detention inspections?
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRBs) visit immigration-related detention facilities?
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from inspections?
Types of privatisation/outsourcing
Detention contractors and other non-state entities
Estimated annual budget for detention operations
Estimated annual budgets for particular detention-related activities
Estimated cost per detainees day (in USD)
Estimated annual budget for non-custodial measures (in USD)
Estimated costs of non-custodial measures (in USD)
Does the country receive external sources of funding?
Description of foreign assistance