For more than five decades, illegal armed groups in Colombia have engaged in conflict with the 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 country with the second number of landmine victims in the world. According to the National Authority, there have been over 11,600 mine and UXO victims in Colombia since 1990, were 39% correspond to civilians.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), by mid-2018 there were 7.7 million registered IDPs in Colombia, representing approximately 15% of the population.
Landmines continue to have a huge effect on the civilian population, causing physical harm, preventing IDP return, land restitution, development projects, farming, agriculture, and affecting livelihoods.
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.
By January 2019, HALO Colombia had cleared a total of 178 minefields (815.399m2), safely destroying more than 600 mines in the process. Additionally, through non-technical survey (NTS) HALO team have reported 876 veredas as landmine free. Together these activities have benefited more than 18,000 people.
Thanks are given for the generous support from our donors – the Governments of the United States, Canada and Norway, the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Sustaining Peace in Colombia, the New Zealand Government, Irish Aid, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Grupo Energía de Bogotá, amongst others.