Working in Colombia to engaged non state actors

Author(s): Mehmet Balci

Geneva Call and the Colombian Campaign against Landmines (CCCM) have been working together in Colombia for the last two years in framework of a Memorandum of Understanding for Engaging Colombian Non State Actors in banning antipersonnel landmines.

This program, supported by the European Union and the Suisse government, included a large sensitizing and awareness work. The aim was to raise awareness about the landmine problem in Colombia among the Non State Armed Actors and to seek their commitment to a total ban on Anti-personnel Mines, trough civil society participation and trough direct dialogue with them and trough the Colombian government collaboration.

An International Forum, a National Forum with Indigenous and Afro Colombian communities, and 5 regional forums have been held already within this project.

Other 5 regional forums are programmed for this year.

During the regional forums, several local actors -- civil society, NGOs, local politicians and functionaries, military personnel...- are called to think together about the landmine problem and the possible actions to face it.

Recently the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN) the second largest illegual armed group in Colombia did cleared a 15km long zone on a road that was seriously affected by mines in the South Bolivar department. Today there is need for a verification mission to ensrue the quality od the clearance tha took place.

Geneva Call, the Colombian campaign against mines (CCCM) and other involved actors appeal that the Colombian government authorise specialised organisations to perform "quality insurance" and "verification" of the demined area. So far there is no answer from government to these appeals. Without these verification civilians are at risk of eventual mines.

This initiaitve by the ELN illustrates that with good will and colaboration between of all actors, particularly with the Government, humanitarian mine clearance in Colombia is possible.

For further information:

Geneva Call
Mehmet Balci - Program Director for Middle East and Colombia
19, Rue Beranger
75003 Paris France
Tel/Fax: +33 142725549
Mobile: +33 617915107

Campana Colombiana Contra las Minas
Alvaro Jimenez Millan -Coordinador Nacional
Tel: + 57 1 636 33 68
Fax: + 57 310 322 15 30