Colombia strengthens its capacities for demining
An initiative that contributes to strengthening peace in Colombia and to building social fabric in the post-conflict stage, based on the experience of Cambodia and Japan.
Colombia is the second country in the world after Afghanistan in number of victims of antipersonnel mines and explosive remnants of war (National Center of Historical Memory and Prologar Foundation, 2017). This problem has not had much visibility, either because the number of victims is small compared to that of other events associated with armed conflict, or because they are usually isolated cases far from urban centers (National Center of Historical Memory and Prologar Foundation, 2017). However, this affects the daily lives of many people, such as children and adolescents, specifically in rural areas.
Physical injuries caused by these explosives “profoundly modify the work and social life of the victims and their families” (National Center of Historical Memory and Prologar Foundation, 2017). In addition, their presence triggers “processes of confinement, school drop out, forced displacement and changes in rural activities” (National Center of Historical Memory and Prologar Foundation, 2017).
As of November 2022, Colombia had registered 12,273 victims of antipersonnel mines and unexploded ordnance, 19% of which died as a result of the accident. Sixty percent of the victims were members of the security forces. Fortunately, in the last decade, the annual number of victims has been falling (107 in 2022) (Presidency of the Republic of Colombia, 2022).
Since 2016, Colombia has been strengthening its capacities in integrated mine action based on the experience of the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), through a Triangular Cooperation project supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In this context, 7 courses and 2 seminars were held for people working in this area, such as members of the military forces and officials from the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace and the Ministry of National Defense of Colombia. Topics such as best practices in demining techniques, quality management, information management and senior management for the coordination of interventions are addressed.
This initiative contributes to strengthening peace in Colombia and to building social fabric in the post-conflict stage. Cambodia’s experience is of great importance “not only in terms of technology, but also regarding the impact it can have on poverty reduction and on economic growth in the country” (ApcColombia, n/d). It also contributes to comply with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.
Source: SEGIB based on Agencies and Directorates-General for Cooperation, National Center of Historical Memory and Prologar Foundation (2017) and websites of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia and ApcColombia.
Photograph: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).