Colombia’s mine problem is the result of 50 years of civil war, mostly with non-state armed groups. Although the precise extent of contamination remains uncertain, it is estimated that there are still approximately 50 km2 of mined areas all over the country; more that 60% of the country’s municipalities are affected. Mines in Colombia are mostly of improvised nature, and were typically planted in isolated rural areas by armed groups to protect strategic positions. When they moved on, the mines were left behind, blocking access to roads, paths, schools and other civilian infrastructure, preventing productive use of land.
Mine action is crucial to build lasting peace in Colombia and to rebuild the lives of the six million internally displaced people and eight million registered victims of the conflict. Declaring municipalities free from explosive risk provides the fundamental first step towards facilitating the safe return of displaced people and setting the basis for a peaceful future. Since 1990, there have been 11 470 reported casualties of mines or other explosive remnants of war, out of which 2 269 people were killed