Japanese embassy funds vital humanitarian demining in Colombia
In a formal ceremony held on Tuesday October 18, the Japanese embassy in Colombia officially signed over a donation of USD $555, 567 in support of NPA’s humanitarian demining pilot project in El Orejón, Antioquia.
The donation adds another chapter to a longstanding friendship between the NPA and Japan, who have also helped to fund some of NPA’s other humanitarian demining projects in South Lebanon, Mauritania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Japanese Ambassador Ryutaro Hatanaka, Colombian Senior Adviser for Post-Conflict, Human Rights and Security, Rafael Pardo and NPA’s Colombian Program Coordinator, Esteban Rueda, each officiated the donation, which will be put towards the costs of demining vehicles, demining equipment and associated operational costs.
The donation comes at a critical time, as NPA continue to partner with DAICMA (Dirección para la Acción Integral contra Minas Antipersona) and BIDES (Battalion de Desminado), clearing El Orejón of unexploded landmines and IEDs, a result of the violent confrontation between the National Colombian Army and FARC-EP (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army).
The area's contamination with such devices hinders agricultural development, one of its key means of income, as well as being a significant risk for its young population, making humanitarian demining in the region crucial for its recovery.