The FARC use “increasingly sophisticated and undetectable [landmines]. And a very serious problem is that the locations of illicit crops and of landmines overlap more and more. That means they use the mines to protect the coca fields,” Santos said.
The Colombian representative believes that the “ETA and the IRA taught a lot to the FARC about explosives.”
Colombia wants to use former rebels to remove landmines they laid to
stop them from killing and maiming hundreds of people, the country’s
vice president said.
“Those who fought five or 10 years ago and
have been demobilized can help with reconstruction. It sends a good
signal,” vice president Francisco Santos told a news conference in
Geneva on Thursday where he is attending a meeting on mines.
“It will send the message that those who put them there can help take them away,” he added.
Some 67 civilians and members of Colombia’s armed forces were killed by
mines between January and June this year, while another 306 were
wounded, according to government statistics.
“Colombia is the
country that still has the number one amount of landmine accidents in
the world,” Santos said, noting it had the highest number of reported
Santos expressed “great concern” about the fact that only a few high officials so far confirmed their attendance at a summit on landmines in Cartagena in November. He called on the governments to “make an effort to be represented at the highest level” at the summit.
“The victims and the affected communities would not understand and less accept that we make the historical mistake of reducing the Conference to a meeting of technical experts,” Santos said. The Cartagena summit “is the opportunity for the international community to understand the dimension of the landmine problem we are facing,” the Vice president added.
is among 156 parties to the 1997 Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel
mines. The U.S., Russia and China are among those that have not signed