Thematic areas: Humanitarian Norms – Landmine Ban

Following the “Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace” signed between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the Colombian State, the withdrawal of the FARC-EP, along with the power vacuum created, triggered competition among other actors for the control of territories and illegal economies.

This led to the reconfiguration of ANSAs such as the ELN, the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), the Gaitanist Self-Defence Forcesof Colombia (AGC) and paramilitary groups, and the emergence of new and numerous local, smaller armed groups. These new developments have dramatic consequences for the civilian population as it means the continuation of armed violence and even in some case its exacerbation. Indeed, three years after the signing of the Agreement, the UN Verification Mission and the UN Security Council describe the current context as both very serious and “more complex” than before the Agreement, calling for “the full implementation of the Agreement”. The implementation is seen as much too slow, in particular with regards to the land tenure and rural reforms (report UNSG,4 October 2019).

Geneva Call’s activities in Colombia

• Enhanced engagement on protection of civilians: Geneva Call organized workshops with ELN members detained in the women’s prison of Bucaramanga (Santander department) as well as in the high security detention centre of Valledupar (Cesar department). Although, no official statement has been made by the ELN to commit themselves to respect international humanitarian norms, the participants showed great interest in the thematic issues tackled and willingness to pursue the work.

• Strengthened community, civil society, media and traditional/religious leaders’ knowledge & capacities: The efforts in the most affected departments (Chocó, Cauca, Nariño, Putumayo, Arauca and Norte de Santander) continued via awareness-raising seminars on IHL principles and core thematic topics(children/education, gender, AP mines/EW, displacement, cultural heritage, health care). CBOs/CSOs were provided with comprehensive training on the above-mentioned thematic issues and more than 95 journalists deepened their knowledge of humanitarian norms and reporting skills related to IHL violations.

• Consolidated and broadened awareness: For the first time in Colombia, two media campaigns were launched to raise awareness among the broader civilian population on the basic principles of IHL and the importance to respect them, as well as to reach those committing the violations. The first campaign was called “During wartime, not everything is permitted!”, whereas the second one, more culturally-anchored, was launched with the headline “Neither in matter of war nor in matter of love everything is acceptable, there are limits!”.

• Building on a recent internal evaluation conducted in 2019, Geneva Call outlined a community-centered intervention and launched intensive communication campaigns with a focus on the protection of civilians, especially campaigns linked to acts of violence, and healthcare during COVID-19. The “Fighter Not Killer” campaign was adapted in Spanish to the local context at the end of 2020, and a specific component on the protection of medical missions was added. The results will be analyzed in 2021, once the campaign is finalized. In 2019, a similar campaign reached more than 1.6 million people via social media, providing the first space of discussion around IHL.

• In response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a relevant communication campaign was launched and disseminated at the end of 2020. Considering the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and the level of violence associated with it, as well as the ongoing conflict in Colombia, Geneva Call’s work and campaign, focused on the protection of the medical mission in line with IHL and humanitarian norms. A specific approach was prepared with the Ministry of Health; the activities will be implemented mainly during the first quarter of 2021.




Total groups engaged 1

Contact information:

Séverine Courtiol – COUNTRY DIRECTOR



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