Life on the Edge: Stories from the Colombian-Ecuadorian border
The Colombian-Ecuadorian border of the Amazon basin has turned into an area of human suffering caused by fighting between the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas, the paramilitary and the Colombian Army. In addition, an extremely dangerous environment exists for local civilians and indigenous communities with cross-border activities such as drug and human trafficking.
According to the United Nations, the Colombian refugee crisis is the second largest in the world, after Sudan. Colombia has more than 3 million IDPs (Internally Displace Persons), and another 600,000 people have fled to other countries. In Ecuador there are an estimated 135,000 Colombians, but despite Ecuador’s liberal policies regarding refugees only 33,000 of these have refugee status. Ecuador receives about 1,000 refugee requests from Colombians each month.
“Life on the Edge” is a multimedia project consisting of 12 stories (including video, photography, audio and text) on the effects of the armed conflict has had on the population in southern Colombia and northern Ecuador. Clashes between different armed groups, threats and violence have forced millions of people to flee and abandon their homes for fear of being killed. I travelled from the port city of Tumaco to the jungle town of Pinuna Negro, next to where Raul Reyes was killed when Colombian forces entered Ecuadorian territory in March 2008. I followed the 600km border collecting interviews and photographs of those who have been affected in one way or another by the conflict along my journey (Jan-Apr 2010).