Colombia is a State Party to the Convention on the Status of Refugees, adopted in Geneva in 1951 and ratified on October 10, 1961; the Protocol on the Status of Refugees, adopted in New York on January 31, 1967, signed by Colombia on March 4, 1980, and is a signatory to the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, signed on November 22, 1984.
The application procedure for recognition of refugee status is governed by the provisions of Decree 4503 of 2009 and must be presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia.
The Advisory Committee for the Determination of Refugee Status receives, processes, and examines the applications submitted by those who consider that they meet the definition of refugee. According to Article 1 of Decree 4503 of 2009, a refugee is a person: “a) Who, due to well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social or political group, is outside the country of his or her nationality and owing to said fear is unable or unwilling to recur to the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and as the result of said events is outside the country of former habitual residence, or owing to said fear is unable or unwilling to return; b) Who has been forced to leave their country because their lives, safety, or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order, or c) Having substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in case of being expelled, returned, or extradited to the country of nationality or, if without nationality, the country of habitual residence.”
All applications for recognition of refugee status must contain the following information:
a) Full name of the claimants and their beneficiaries.
b) Photocopy of passport and identity document of the country of origin or habitual residence. In the event that the applicant is unable to present these documents, a sworn statement attesting to identity may be presented;
c) The date and means of entry into the country, contact address and phone number;
d) A detailed account of the facts that support the request;
e) An inventory of the documents accompanying the application, if any;
f) A recent photograph;
g) Applicant’s signature.