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The Uprooting: Forced Displacement in Colombia

Benjamin Ball | Colombia

León tends his small coffee plantation in remote Antioquia. He is the last of 13 siblings to still work the land. His brothers and sisters were all forcefully displaced from their homes, and now live in Medellín. Colombian peasants have been forced to abandon over five million hectares of fertile land in the last twenty years.

Each day as many as a thousand Colombians are forcefully displaced from their lands and forced to flee to cities where their identity is swallowed where they become anonymous statistics: another displaced. This is the term encompassing the circumstances of over four million Colombians.

Forced displacement is not merely a consequence of Colombia’s armed conflict; it is a strategic objective of the war. Five million hectares of fertile land have been depopulated to secure foreign investment in mining, bio fuel crops, and mega-projects such as dams, highways, ports, and oil pipelines, or to provide strategic corridors for drug trafficking and arms smuggling.

These photographs are part of an interactive photo-essay, theuprooting.com, which combines testimonies, audio interviews, ambient sound, and music to trace the story of forced displacement from traditional life on the land, to survival, ingenuity,and resilience in Colombian cities.

I produced The Uprooting for two reasons. The first was to create more awareness about a problem that is arguably the largest and most chronic human rights crisis in the Americas; the second was to do so in an innovative way that would allow 'the displaced' to tell the story in their own way, with their own voices, and provide context to their situation through the use of interactive, multi-linear storytelling. The Uprooting is an essay about forced displacement. It is also, and equally, an essay on ethical digital journalism. The photos can be seen in their full context here: www.theuprooting.com

Consultoria para los Derechos Humanos y el desplazamiento (CODHES):




Consultoria para los Derechos Humanos y el desplazamiento (CODHES):


+61 410 438108



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