Humanitarian Disarmament in Colombia
Colombia is believed to be one of the most landmine contaminated countries in the world, and it still records some of the highest numbers of accidents per year.
The contamination in Colombia is the result of decades of conflict with non-state armed groups ( NSAG ) which has led to a huge displacement of persons. The government has registered more than 5 million Internally Displaced Persons ( IDP ). It is believed that landmines are dispersed throughout 40 % of the national territory, affecting 31 of 32 departments (states) and one of every two municipalities.
MBT : state party; clearance deadline: 1 March 2021.
CCM : signed, not ratified.
Norwegian People's Aid was involved in a historic pilot project, prior to the peace agreement between the Government and FARC, to clear Anti-Personnel Mines (APMs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs), and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs). NPA coordinated a team consisting of representatives of the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP.
Today, Colombia has clearance projects in two states, Meta and Antioquia, two of the states with the most registered victims from landmines. The program has 180 employees, 10 mine detection dogs and 5 mechanical assets.
In addition, the Colombia program supports the Military Humanitarian Brigade with their mine detection dogs; supports the establishment of Humanicemos, FARCs demining organisation with staff and training. NPA has also undertaken the first of its kind collaboration with FARC on the recollection of information in NPAs areas of operation. Moreover, NPA provides direct support to the national mine action center (DAICMA) on Information Management and collaborates closely with the Norwegian Refugee Council in the field, with common surveys, so that the NRC can provide educational support in the areas which NPA has cleared and released back to the local community.
NPA is expanding its efforts in Latin America. 2012 NPA responded to a request by both Chile and Peru, in supporting with survey and clearance efforts on the border. Moreover, NPA is currently undertaking destruction of cluster munitions in Peru in support of Peru’s obligations towards the Cluster Munition Convention.
NPA also supported Grenada in their compliance efforts towards Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2012.
From 1990 - 2016, Landmine Monitor recorded 11,470 casualties, including 2269 deaths and 9201 injuries. In 2016, civilians accounted for 32% of the total and children accounted for 22% of civilian casualties.
The contamination comprises of home-made victim activated devices, which are commonly used. During surveys, there has been reporting of explosive material found made from plastic containers and soft drink bottles.
Norwegian People's Aid's partners in Colombia work with Indigenous rights, land distribution and marginalized groups.