Medellín (Agenzia Fides) - Colombia has the world’s second highest number of land mine victims. Although the department of Huila is not the one with more mines, in less than 15 years 224 victims have been recorded.
During the World Conference, which has just concluded in Medellín, Colombia’s government must ensure that mine victims have adequate assistance and opportunities to advance their rights. According to information gathered by Fides, in many Countries, rehabilitation and psychological support centers are in big cities while the majority of those affected live in rural areas. Health care and psychological services, the creation of networks among the survivors are needed so that they can share experiences and initiatives. According to the international NGO Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, the most affected Countries are Afghanistan, Colombia and Cambodia, Yemen and Pakistan. In 2012, the NGO registered 3,628 landmine victims. Of these 1,066 have died. The results of the conference in Medellin will be presented by Colombia at another meeting to be held in Geneva and will also serve as the basis of the third five-year review of the Ottawa Convention, to be held in June in Mozambique. In 2000 Colombia acceded to the Ottawa Convention, which prohibits the use of such weapons, and since then the government forces have started the process of de-mining their fields. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 09/04/2014)