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Short news item on Micoahumado, Bolivar, Colombia

Short news item on Micoahumado, Bolivar, Colombia

25 June 2007

As it was mentioned in the last communication on the 20th of June 2007, the organizations Geneva Call and the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines (CCCM) paid a visit to Micoahumado, in the province of Bolivar, on the 21st of June; this was a response to the accusation by the Asamblea Popular Constituyente de Micoahumado (Constituent Popular Assembly of Micoahumado) of new mine use. The visit’s main objective was to investigate the seriousness of the allegations concerning the planting of antipersonnel mines in the village.

According to the information provided by representatives of the community, the road that had been re-mined at the end of May was cleared a few days later, due to the pressure exercised by the local community, and the solidarity and campaigning of national and international organizations that work on the landmine issue. In Micoahumado, some people informed the delegation that the road, which had remained unused for almost a week, was being used again. The discovery of mines on the road is a clear demonstration that the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) did not uphold its commitment (of January 2005) to the community of maintaining the road free from the presence or suspicion of mines. During the Assembly, Mehmet Balci, Program Director of Geneva Call, stated the importance of respecting the community and asked the ELN to maintain its commitment to them.

During the visit, the delegation was informed about the emergency situation caused by mines and unexploded ordnance in the region. Some informed sources, however, expressed doubts as to whether the road had indeed been re-mined. Therefore, at the end of the visit, the local community asked Geneva Call and CCCM to facilitate the implementing of Mine Risk Education programs and to maintain presence and contact with the community in order to verify and monitor the problem concerning antipersonnel landmines.

Geneva Call and the CCCM offered support to the Assembly through their active participation. Other Colombian and international organizations and agencies also participated in the Assembly.

Geneva Call and CCCM will continue their efforts to ensure that the National Government and ELN soon reach a humanitarian agreement of national scope on mine action activities, in the framework of the peace process.


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