Humanitarian Disarmament in Colombia
Colombia has the second highest number of registered landmine victims in the world, surpassed only by Afghanistan.
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 signing of peace agreement between the Government and FARC-EP between January 2015 to November 2016, to clear Anti-Personnel Mines (APMs), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs), and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs) in two previously inaccessible areas of Colombia. The Demining Pilot project was the first tangible result to come out of the peace negotiations in Havana, and undeniably played a part in the signing of the final agreement. NPA coordinated a team consisting of representatives of the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP, a first-of-its-kind collaboration, and the first showcase of the parties working together for the benefit of the civilian population.
Simultaneously, NPA HD has established itself fully in Colombia with almost 200 staff, working in several high impact department of Colombia with 7 NTS teams, 7 Manual Clearance teams, 3 Mechanical teams and 5 MDD teams. NPA is the only civilian operator in Colombia to use the entire Land Release Toolbox. Additionally, NPA has supported the National Mine Action Authorities on the development of national standards, and on Information Management. NPA also supports and collaborates closely with the Humanitarian Demining Brigade with training of Mine Detection Dogs, and is now also working together with the FARC demining organization, Humanicemos, who will be part of NPAs capacity in 2018, providing training, experience and accreditation to its members. This to date is the most advanced reintegration project ongoing in Colombia. Finally, NPA 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.
NPAs activities in Colombia are supported by the NMFA, the United States Government, the UN Multi Donor trust fund, and the Norwegian Railway Union.
Colombia has the second highest number of landmine victims registered in the world, only surpassed by Afghanistan. Colombia also has the second highest number child victims in the world.
Despite grim statistics, things are moving in the right direction. Colombia today has 11 accredited humanitarian demining operators, and registered 56 landmine victims in 2017, compared to the all-time high of 1232 landmine victims registered in 2006.
A coordinated mine action response is extremely important for a successful transition into post conflict, among others to allow for the internally displaced (over 5 million registered) to return to their homes and undertake gainful employment.
Norwegian People's Aid's partners in Colombia work with Indigenous rights, land distribution and marginalized groups.