2018 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Colombia

Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

FUNDING FY15 FY16 FY17 FY01–17 TOTAL
DOS NADR - CWD 7,039 8,500 21,000 59,599
CDC 0 0 0 450
DoD 0 742 3,338 5,759
USAID 2,000 3,085 808 18,493
COUNTRY TOTAL 9,039 12,327 25,146 84,301

Dollars in thousands

COLOMBIA

Due to more than 50 years of conflict between the government of Colombia and the FARC, Colombia’s largest guerrilla movement, widespread mine and UXO contamination continues to affect the country. Colombia has recorded more than 11,500 mine and UXO casualties since 1990. However, the annual number of mine and UXO causalities has continually decreased from 2007. In 2017, Colombia’s national mine action authority, Decontaminate Colombia (DAICMA), received reports of 56 victims of mines, IEDS, and UXO, compared to 84 in 2016. The most affected departments are Antioquia, Caquetá, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, and Tolima.

Date: 2018 Description: An NPA deminer uses a mine detector to clear landmines in Vista Hermosa, Meta Department, Colombia. © Photo courtesy of NPA

As a result of the dialogue between the Colombian government and the FARC, in February 2016 the United States announced the Global Demining Initiative for Colombia, jointly led by Norway, to rally the international community to help Colombia clear all of its mines. In September 2016, the effort culminated with the United States and Norway co-hosting a ministerial pledging conference at the United Nations General Assembly. With Colombian President Santos in attendance, the United States, Norway, the European Union, and 19 other nations pledged over $107 million to support Colombia’s mine action efforts. In November 2016, peace negotiations between the FARC and the Colombian government concluded and ratification of the final accord resulted in the clearance and subsequent handover of two hazardous areas.

From 2001 to 2017, the United States invested more than $84.3 million to support CWD in Colombia, including clearance, risk education, technical assistance, equipping the Colombian military’s Humanitarian Demining Brigade, and survivor assistance programs.

In 2017, the Department of State supported the following implementing partners:

  • HALO continued demining in southeast Antioquia, and survey and clearance operations into Meta.
  • NPA continued work to clear Vista Hermosa in Meta Department.
  • The Organization of American States (OAS) continued to provide equipment and support to military humanitarian demining units, conducted quality assurance and quality control verifications over both civilian and military operations, and supported DAICMA with technical expertise.
  • FSD continued to provide technical expertise to DAICMA to further develop national capacity.
  • Colombian Campaign Against Landmines, Colombia’s first national demining nongovernmental organization, continued clearance work in Vista Hermosa.
  • Polus continued to assist victims from landmine incidents by providing prostheses and connecting them with the appropriate Colombian health services.
  • SOS continued to organize community sporting events as a mine risk education method to warn children of the risks associated with mines and UXO.

With funding from the Department of Defense,

  • HD R&D, in partnership with HALO, continued evaluations of the HSTAMIDS and began testing the Bearcat vegetation clearance system.
  • USSOUTHCOM invested in building the Colombian military’s (COLMIL) capacity to conduct humanitarian demining operations. USSOUTHCOM’s support to COLMIL humanitarian demining units included the procurement of supplies and equipment; a Joint Strategic Command and Control Center to ensure COLMIL’s direct connection with the command posts of tactical units conducting humanitarian demining missions; guaranteeing a national-level coverage of all deployed humanitarian demining units; and funded travel of COLMIL officers and subject-matter experts to humanitarian demining workshops, including a visit to the Humanitarian Demining Training Center in Fort Lee, VA.

USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund continued to support World Vision to provide training for rehabilitation service personnel, economic and social empowerment, assistive technology delivery, and medical and physical rehabilitation for people with disabilities.

Date: 2018 Description: HALO formally releases cleared land in Colombia. © Photo courtesy of HALO.