OAS organizes a Workshop on Mine action in Colombia
Organization of American States (OAS) organized a workshop on mine action in Colombia, with the purpose of discussing progress made by the Colombian government and relevant partners in pursuing the goal of declaring Colombia mine free by 2021. The OAS workshop was organized with the support of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement of the U.S. Department of State and Global Affairs Canada. Together with the representatives of Colombian government, humanitarian demining organizations and donors the discussion address the Colombia’s Strategic Plan for Deming and the existing challenges to the objective of 2021 mine free Colombia.
The workshop highlighted the issues of inclusion of women and gender perspective in mine action, efficiency and effectiveness of demining operations, inclusion of mine-affected communities in agenda setting and main challenges that demining organization face in the process of entering the mine action sector in Colombia.
Director of the Descontamina Colombia, a national body that coordinates all mine action activities in Colombia, stressed out the importance of Global Demining Initiative for Colombia as it introduced new donors and invited 12 humanitarian demining organizations to the sector, where ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF) is also a member. The workshop also focused around the need to continue with the assistance and aid to thousands of Colombians that have been injured by landmines during and after the conflict. Clearance of landmines not only provides a safe environment for the communities, but offers the possibility of using the land for economic reasons and provides safe passage for internally displace persons to their homes.
Currently one third of 1,122 municipalities in Colombia are mine contaminated, where 11,566 Colombians have been killed or injured by landmines. In 2018, 40 people have lost their lives due to mine contamination.