Media Center

Press Release


  November 8, 2005

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Colombian government will begin de-mining operations this week in the South American country. This initial phase, which will run for approximately two months in Mamonal, located in the Department of Bolívar, involves as well the destruction of unexploded ordnance.

Some 30 landmine fields scattered across Colombia are under the control of the National Colombian Army. These minefield will be destroyed under the terms of the international Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer or Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, better known as Ottawa Convention. Operations will be carried out by 28 members of the Colombian Navy and Army and will be supervised by two Honduran officers.

The Antipersonnel Mine Observatory, the national mine action authority, coordinates mine clearance activities in Colombia with help of the hemispheric organization, whose support is helping to strengthen existing mine-clearing operations in the country. The OAS has provided training for the soldiers who will support operations and also provides life insurance to the personnel, logistical support and international supervision for the operations.

As well, under the terms of an agreement Colombia and the OAS signed two years ago, the organization will provide physical and psychological rehabilitation to approximately 20 antipersonnel landmine victims, selected by the Observatory. This activity will be carried out through the Rehabilitation Center of Colombia (CIREC). According to national statistics, the country has on average one anti-personnel landmine accident every day.

The OAS coordinates all mine clearance activities through its Comprehensive Mine Action Program.

Reference: E-261/05