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Key developments since May Non-state armed groups, most notably FARC, continued to use antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices extensively. Colombia initiated mine clearance of the military bases. Clearance of one base was completed, was ongoing in a second, and impact surveys had been carried out on 17 bases.
Despite inadequate data collection, Colombia recorded a significant borrafor in casualties in National implementation legislation, Lawcame into effect on 25 July Colombia has previously submitted five Article 7 reports. Colombia participated in the Sixth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Zagreb, Croatia in November-Decemberwhere it made a statement during the General Exchange of Views, as well as the boerador on mine clearance and victim assistance.
It also attended the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in June and May In the May meetings, it made presentations on its mine clearance and victim assistance programs. Colombia has made a few interventions on matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty. In Juneit made a strong and unequivocal statement that any mine that is victim-activated is an antipersonnel mine, and is banned.
The government has called on other States Parties to exert pressure on non-state armed groups NSAGs to accept the international norm prohibiting antipersonnel mines, as set out in the Mine Ban Treaty.
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We are not avoiding the topic; we are exploring it with specialists. Other NSAGs include a large number of paramilitary forces, which operate with the tolerance, and often support of, units within the Colombian Army. Most paramilitary forces have been engaged in a process of demobilization. In mid-Aprilthe government announced that the three-year demobilization of the AUC had been completed.
In andCCCM continued borrzdor issue its quarterly national mine action bulletin, Colombia sin minas Colombia without minesas borrador as several press releases.
The campaign urged ELN and the government to include landmines in their ongoing negotiations and called on the ELN to commit itself to a unilateral limitation on antipersonnel mine use.
The arrangement of humanitarian agreements, even in the absence of a comprehensive peace agreement, is also the aim of the continued discussions between Geneva Call and the ELN. The Colombian Army has classified the different kinds of antipersonnel mines and explosive artifacts found during emergency and tactical demining, and during seizure of stockpiles. These include mines made from beer cans with syringes as activation mechanisms, PVC tubes, milk containers, wooden boxes, and mines similar to Claymores, among others.
The government of Colombia is not known to have ever exported antipersonnel mines. There have been past reports of mines transferred as part of illegal weapons shipments destined for non-state armed groups in Colombia, but Landmine Monitor knows of none since Colombia reported completion of the destruction of its 18, stockpiled antipersonnel mines on 24 October In addition to the 18, mines destroyed, the government has reported three other destructions of antipersonnel mines.
A total of 2, stockpiled mines were destroyed in Julyprior to Colombia becoming a State Party. The Ministry of Defense sent a letter to Landmine Monitor in September to clarify many of the problems.
According to its April Article 7 report, Colombia has retained a total of MAP-1 antipersonnel mines for training purposes, the same number as indicated in its report, but fewer mines than reported in The mines are held by the Army mines total; mines each by Divisions 2 to 6 and another by the Army EngineersNavy mines and Air Force mines.
Colombia did not use the new expanded Form D for reporting on retained mines agreed at the Sixth Meeting of States Parties in December The government has not included in its Article 7 reports any information about the acquisition or destruction of antipersonnel mines from such seizures.
Their investigation did not reveal any evidence linking the Army to use of antipersonnel mines. There have been no specific reports of use of antipersonnel mines by AUC in this reporting period since Maythough mines have been seized from and turned in by AUC members.
Local media reporting remains a key source of information on mine incidents in the country, however, it is often difficult to determine the types of explosive artifacts reported by media. NSAG mines sometimes feature mechanisms so that they can be command-detonated or victim-activated. Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia: FARC is responsible for most of the antipersonnel mines being laid in Colombia.
Since its last report, Landmine Monitor registered new use of antipersonnel mines by FARC forces in several municipalities that had not reported mine incidents previously. Landmine Monitor has not received any reports of new use of antipersonnel mines specifically attributed to paramilitary forces of the AUC, or other paramilitary blocs, in this reporting period. But, as noted above, a large stockpile of weapons including antipersonnel mines was discovered at an AUC camp in Meta in February Colombia is considered to be the country most affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war ERW in the Americas, as a result of 40 years of internal conflict.
Inmunicipalities in 21 departments were affected; as of 30 Maymunicipalities in 31 departments were identified as affected, representing approximately 59 percent of the 1, municipalities of the country. Both antipersonnel mines and antivehicle mines have been laid by NSAGs along routes used by government forces and around their camps.
They also have been used around schools, civilian routes, water sources, bridges, housing areas and around illicit drug cultivations. From to 1 Junethe Observatory recorded 8, landmine and ERW-related incidents, including 1, people killed and 3, injured. In OctoberSAC conducted a preliminary opinion collection survey.
It identified of the surveyed municipalities 63 percent as affected by landmines and UXO. In addition, it recorded 34 mine-affected municipalities that were not registered by the Antipersonnel Mine Observatory. In addition to mines laid by NSAGs, government forces also laid mines around military installations and infrastructure. In its Article 7 report of AprilColombia stated that landmines affect the mobility of people, as well as the social, political and economic development of the country, adding that 88 percent of the casualties are young adults in the productive stage of life.
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In addition, 45 percent of surveyed municipalities indicated that landmines are one of the main reasons internally displaced people are unable to return home. Other major problems caused by landmines included loss of income as a result of cattle being killed and the borradro of reconstruction efforts. National Mine Action Authority: The commission has two technical committees, one on victim assistance and one on prevention, marking, mapping and mine clearance.
The next meeting was expected to take place on 18 July The Observatory supports mine action committees that function as focal points for mine action around the country.
In Magdalena, for example, the committee stopped meeting because the departmental government prioritized other topics instead of the mine problem, while in Meta, the mine action committee met just twice over the course of one year.
Antioquia remains the most active department in terms of mine action, mainly because of strong support by local government authorities. Colombia runs a mixed system, using the latest form of version 3 and some components of version 4, allowing for decentralization of the system. The database includes information on demining activities, mine risk education and victim assistance. In Maythe Observatory reported that information on the localization of all 34 military minefields had been registered in IMSMA and that results of the ongoing local impact studies were updated as they were completed.
Between May and Julya protocol for demining was drafted by the Observatory with the participation of the Army and National Police. Issues covered in the protocol include: The strategy does not set fixed timelines for these goals. Most mine clearance in Colombia has been military, undertaken for operational purposes, and has not followed IMAS. A first group of 40 military and police deminers was trained in humanitarian demining between September and November to clear the military bases.
A second team of 40 deminers was in training in July to respond to emergencies. The Decision Committee is responsible for setting priorities for demining, based on the threat posed to the population.
CCCM criticized the OAS and the Observatory for starting with clearance of the Mamonal military base, arguing that the reason was not humanitarian but was commercial, as the land was being sold by the army to private investors.
Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Colombia must destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but no later than 1 March However, the Government will not ask for any extension until evaluating the possibility to completely fulfill what is established in the Treaty.
Local impact surveys were conducted around the military bases; as of July17 impact surveys had been completed. By July, the agreement with the EC had been signed and a tendering process was expected to begin in August. The Observatory noted that the standard LIS gives a picture borraador the mine situation at one point in time, borradoor is not appropriate to the Colombian context, given the ongoing conflict.
The survey will not be nationwide.
Restricted access to communities resulting from local conflict and a poor transportation network are the primary issues that may inhibit gathering data on landmines. Taking locator readings with a global positioning system GPS of landmine fields, as well as collecting detailed information from community members concerning landmine locations, would also be problematic.
The Observatory expected to conduct a large fencing and marking operation based on the results of the LIS. To carry out military demining, the armed forces had approximately explosives and demolition EXDE groups throughout the country as of Februarycomposed of five military personnel and one dog; inthere were EXDE groups. An additional unit, Grupo Marte, borraddor includes seven groups of nine army personnel, is specialized in the handling of explosives.
Inthe Observatory registered instances of military clearance, a decrease compared bordador the events registered for Between January and Aprilan additional military clearances were registered.
According to the and Article 7 reports, only in 65 percent of cases does the military provide the Observatory with geographic coordinates related to its activities. Two military officers from Honduras supervised operations; the OAS provided logistical support and life insurance to the personnel.
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Quality assurance was undertaken by six international OAS observers. Between January and Novemberthe Observatory received 36 requests for emergency clearance from affected communities; these are transferred to the Ministry of Defense, which decides on the appropriate action.
Eight emergencies were attended to during this period, given security concerns and the availability of EXDE teams. The demining team under the supervision of the OAS is reported not to have suffered any accidents during demining. Clearance by Non-State Armed Groups: Some clearance has been undertaken in previous years by NSAGs. Inmine risk education MRE in Colombia remained at a very limited level in relation to the large number of affected municipalities and civilian casualties.
There has been no regular coordination of MRE activities through the Observatory. National Law calls for the creation of a subcommision on MRE, but as of July this had not been created. Inthe Observatory for the first time brought together organizations to share experiences, lessons learned and best practices. However, during this Landmine Monitor reporting period, the geographical coverage of MRE in Colombia appeared to be insufficient.
MRE took place in only a small number of municipalities.
As of Julymost municipalities selected as a priority by the needs assessment had not received any MRE. MRE in Colombia is limited by difficulties in linking with humanitarian mine clearance or emergency clearance operations due to the ongoing conflict in many parts of the country.