Five Decades of conflict in Colombia
Humanitarian Demining as tool for strengthening Peace in Colombia
In November 2016, the Colombian government and the non-state armed group the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), signed a peace agreement, bringing to an end more than 50 years of protracted armed conflict. Although positive, there remain inter-related issues which need to be addressed. These include the mass internal displacement of over 6 million Colombians due to the violence, conflict, and land appropriation by armed groups; as well as the endemic housing, land and property (HLP) issues, which are one of the main drivers of conflict in Colombia.
Mine Action Background update
The heavy presence of mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) remains a significant obstacle to creating a lasting peace. Mines have been laid by the various conflict actors along paths used by pursuant and retreating forces, around camps and bases, or to protect illicit cultivations of coca plants.
According to ICRC report, the first quarter of 2020, Jan to march there were 118 victims of APM/IED (83 civilian, 17 underage, 35 military and armed groups) in Colombia, which means an increase compared to the same period of time of the last year (81). Most of these accidents (more than 60%) were in Norte de Santander, Arauca Antioquia and Nariño related with illicit crops dynamics.
DDG Colombia Response
Building safer communities
In 2011, DRC established its first office in Colombia through the Danish Demining Group (DDG), a specialist unit within DRC which aims to protect communities by reducing weapons-related risks, and through efforts to reduce armed violence. DDG focused primarily on capacity-building programming with the Ministry of Post-Conflict (now the High Council for Post-Conflict, Human Rights, and Security) in Bogota.
Since then, DDG has been expanding its portfolio, working to increase civilian security and facilitate safe access to productive land to Colombian communities. Started with ERW risk education (MRE) to conflict-affected communities in the departments of Meta and Cundinamarca, DDG expanded and currently works in San José del Fragua, Belén de los Andaquíes in the department of Caquetá. DDG Colombia will expand its HMA activities to Nariño department. The DDG teams are accredited to conduct MRE, NTS (Non-technical Survey), mine/ERW clearance activities and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD level 1 and 2).
In addition, DDG has a strong gender policy and adheres to the Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programs. It also strives to achieve a gender-sensitive approach in all its activities. For instance, it employs both men and women, and indigenous and farmers individuals for its NTS teams, clearance and Community Liaison teams. The current gender balance is 58% men, 42% women. DDG is also the Mine Action actor with the highest percentage of women among its staff in Colombia.
DDG Colombia´s activities are currently financially supported by the US Department of State (DoS/PMWRA) and Swedish Cooperation (SIDA).