Handover of cleared land
Colombia: Humanitarian demining pilot project handed over to the community with satisfactory results.
On December 21 and 22, Norwegian People’s Aid, together with the The Mine Action Authority (DAICMA), the Humanitarian Demining Brigade (BIDES), the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, carried out the technical handover of the cleared areas in the Vereda El Orejón in the municipality of Briceño, which is located at the northeast of Colombia, after clearing 19,849 m2 and destroying 46 anti-personnel mines.
Don Bernardo, a member of the El Orejón community, states on this matter: “We believe that the Pilot Project has split the history of our community in two. Thanks to humanitarian demining and to the project we have begun a new life in which there is a new hope to achieve prosperity, social development, social justice and, of course, peace.” Furthermore, he affirms that: “The role of NPA seems very valuable to me. First, because it is an organization that is sponsored by a foreign government that is showing its friendship, its good relationship with our country, and that it has agreed to work in our community to give us an example of solidarity, optimism, hard work, and transparent action. We are extremely grateful to NPA, consider them to be our brothers and sisters, and we will feel a deep sorrow in our souls because of the emptiness that they will leave after they’re gone. Thank you very much, NPA.”
For Pastor Alape, FARC-EP representative and member of the National Reintegration Council, the greatness of the Pilot Project exceeds its technical outcomes: “We cannot just look at this from the technical perspective of demining, but we must see it from a political point of view, since the demining subject enabled the first reconciliation actions and awoke the community’s hopes. We had to start by demining all the social factors that had been constituting the conflict and today we see a community smile; looking up to the horizon of hope.”
As the event reached its end, Sergio Bueno, Director of the DAICMA, expressed that: “We have found a community that is very trusting and satisfied, and which today, with great strength, takes up humanitarian demining as a tool for peace, since these pilot projects were in favor of de-escalation and the consolidation of trust between the communities.”
In total, the Humanitarian Demining Pilot Project handed over 11 areas, from which 9 were cleared through mixed techniques (manual demining, mechanical technique and mine detection dogs). One area was cancelled through Technical Survey and an additional one was marked permanently.