Colombia is the country with the second-highest number of victims of antipersonnel mines (APMs) in the world, resulting from more than five decades of conflict (ICBL-CMC 10/11/2021;
EE 04/04/2021). In 2016, the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) signed the Peace Agreement, which established guidelines for the identification of mined areas and an ambitious humanitarian demining programme. Since then, there has been a notable decline in APM and explosive remnants of war (ERW) events in the country (UNMAS 02/2022).
Despite the decline, there were still at least 4,300 APM and ERW events between 2016–2021 (Descontamina Colombia 28/11/2021 accessed 18/04/2022). In 2020, Colombia had the fourth-highest number of improvised landmine casualties in the world (ICBL-CMC 12/11/2020; LCMM 11/2021). 479,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance live in areas contaminated by APMs or ERW (OCHA 22/02/2022).
Although the number of events involving APMs and ERW has been steadily decreasing, the number of victims has been increasing since 2016 (UNMAS 02/2022). Since the FARCEP’s demobilisation, the proportion of civilian APM and ERW victims has also increased (Descontamina Colombia 28/11/2021 accessed 18/04/2022). New disputes between different armed groups across Colombia put conflict-affected areas at risk of recontamination with APMs and ERW.
APM and ERW events have a major impact on the lives of victims. When they do not lead to death, they can leave long-term physical and mental health consequences, aggravated by the remoteness of hospitals from the population centres where accidents often occur. Nearly two-fifths of the victims are children; the long-term impacts on them are even more noticeable because of the disruption to their life projects.
An increase in APM events not only affects those wounded and killed but entire communities as well, restricting people’s mobility and safe access to livelihood activities. APM and ERW presence also limits humanitarian access to communities in contaminated areas, restricting people’s access to humanitarian aid.
This report analyses events involving antipersonnel mines (APMs) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Colombia since the signing of the Peace Agreement with the FARC-EP in 2016 and their humanitarian impact.
Colombia is the country with the second-highest number of victims of APMs in the world, resulting from more than five decades of conflict.
Since 2016, the number of events involving APMs and ERW in the country has decreased. On the other hand, the number of casualties and the proportion of civilian casualties have increased.
The subregions most affected by APMs and ERW are the Pacific, the northern Amazon, those along the Colombian-Venezuelan border, Urabá, and Bajo Cauca.
Between 2016 and 2021, more than 25,000 people were confined due to the presence of MAP and ERW.
18 out of every 100 APM and ERW victims in Colombia are children or adolescents.