The Colombian Campaign against Mines denounced that during the past weekend, 7 victims of antipersonnel mines were registered in the department of Nariño, in the south of Colombia.

“The use of anti-personnel mines is an attack against the communities of Nariño and constitutes a war crime” (Colombian Campaign against Mines).

According to the organisation, the incidents occurred in the municipalities of Magüí Payán (3), La Llanada (2) and Ricaurte (1) in the department of Nariño, which are already being treated in different hospitals. He also reported that in the municipality of Balboa, department of Cauca, one person died as a result of an anti-personnel mine, as reported by the mayor’s office of that municipality.

It has also reported a preoccupying increase in threats to the life and security of communities in Nariño and part of the south of the country, since during the last three months of this year, 18 people, including three minors, have been affected by anti-personnel mines and other explosive devices.

According to statistics from the Route of Comprehensive Health Care and Functional Rehabilitation for Victims of Antipersonnel Mines (MAP) and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), since records have been kept and until 31 July 2023, in 498 municipalities in the 32 departments of the country, there have been accidents caused by MAP and UXO. Tumaco, on the Colombian non-violent coast, is one of the five municipalities with the highest number of victims (402), affected by the use of these devices.

Other municipalities visibly affected in the country are Vistahermosa, in the department of Meta, with 371 victims; Tame in the department of Arauca, with 350; Tarazá in Antioquia, with 277 and San Vicente del Caguán in Caquetá with 272 victims.

The Campaign urges the rejection of these acts and calls for the abandonment of the use of anti-personnel mines and the de-escalation of armed confrontations, always seeking a solution to differences through dialogue.

According to the organisation, “armed conflicts have a differential and disproportionate impact, threatening the life and peace of communities. As an organisation, we join and encourage the strengthening of Antipersonnel Mine Risk Education (ERM), we support the actions that the High Commissioner for Peace will be proposing on not attacking and respecting the civilian population”.