For more than five decades, armed groups have engaged in conflict with the Colombian government. Improvised explosive devices or IEDs, (classified as landmines in Colombia) have been laid throughout rural areas, devastating local communities. For years, according to Landmine Monitor, Colombia was ranked as the second most mine-affected country in the world. There have been over 11,500 mine victims in Colombia since 1990, were approximately 39% correspond to civilians.
According to the last statistics of 2016 from Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Colombia has the first place worldwide in internal displacement with 7,246,000 people displaced.
Landmines continue to have a huge effect on the civilian population, causing physical harm, preventing farming and affecting livelihoods. Humanitarian demining has a pivotal role in the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
HALO set up an office in Colombia in 2009 and began clearance operations in September 2013. We are currently operating in Antioquia (the department with the highest number of mine victims), Meta, Tolima, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Nariño and Putumayo.
The assignment of additional tasks by Descontamina Colombia, the National Mine Action Authority, has allow HALO to expand across the country.
By January 2018, HALO Colombia had cleared a total of 122 minefields (548.942), safely destroying more than 379 mines in the process. Additionally, HALO’s survey teams (NTS) have cancelled 397 suspected hazardous areas from the national database, which can now be declared safe for land restitution, IDP return and resettlement, and development. Together these activities have benefited more than 12,300 people direct and indirectly.
Thanks are given for the generous support from our donors – Canada, European Union, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and United Nations.