Colombia has the second highest casualty rate of landmine victims in the world, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).
Colombia had 512 victims either maimed or killed due to landmines in 2010, putting the country second after Afghanistan with 1,211. Pakistan is third with 394 casualties.
Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela also have landmines, but the biggest problem in Latin America is in Colombia. Kate Wiggans, ICBL’s spokesperson, said this was largely due to its frequent use by the leftist guerrilla group FARC.
Colombia is a signatory to an international Mine Ban Treaty, which requires countries to remove landmines from its territories. The process was due to be finished by March this year, but Colombia was granted a ten-year extension in December 2010.
India, Pakistan and Burma are the only countries that continue to produce new landmines, which the vast majority of nations have stopped using. However Libyan, Israeli, Syrian and Burmese governments continue to place new landmines, and they are still ending up in the hands of guerrilla groups worldwide, such as the FARC.
“The new use of mines is the exception, not the norm, but it is widely condemned,” said Mary Wareham, one of the authors of the study.
Landmines killed 1,155 people around the world last year and wounded 2,848 — a 5% increase from the previous year. The figures may be even higher as data from many countries is often incomplete.