Colombia and FARC agree to coordinate on mine clearance
The Government of Colombia and the non-state armed group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have reached an agreement to work together to rid the country of landmines. This is a significant step towards peace, as well as a boost for mine action in one of the world's most mined countries.
The announcement is a success of the ongoing peace talks between the government and FARC in Cuba. The intention is that the negotiations will eventually provide the opportunity for survey and mine clearance operations to expand across the country.
The HALO Trust is a neutral organisation, which in the context of many post conflict countries globally, has allowed us to provide a bridge between factions and therefore directly contribute to peace building. In Colombia similar opportunities exist. HALO is the only NGO, and the only civilian organization, currently conducting mine clearance in the country. HALO’s current area of operations is southern Antioquia Department where locally recruited deminers have located and destroyed over 100 landmines since September 2013. HALO has also conducted assessments in Meta, Cauca, Tolima, Nariño, and Montes de Maria.
The Colombian Government recognizes the importance of employing civilians through credible and experienced humanitarian organisations such as HALO. This approach provides employment to those from mine-impacted communities while building trust and aiding in security. General Rafael Colón (Rtd), the Head of DAICMA (the National Authority in Colombia) said International Humanitarian Demining Organisations
…will be key to the achievement of the Governments ambitious goal that Colombia is free of suspected mines in less than a decade.
HALO would like to thank its donors and partners in Colombia for supporting our work, as it is a critical part of the peace process. Thanks to the Governments of the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union and the United Nations Mine Action Service.