Peace dialogues begin on October 8. Government and Farc already signed a General Agreement to End Conflict and the subject of landmines that are still planted all around the country does not seem to have the attention by any of the parts, how can this be interpreted?
In the agreement that was already signed, the subject of location of all landmines that have been planted by Farc does not appear in any Agenda, and most for sure if peace is signed ignorance of the location of the landmines will keep rising the number of victims because of these silent enemies.
The Government must seriously act with regard to this issue and demand that Farc deliver the location of planted mines to avoid that in a future post conflict scenario victims keep multiplying. Nevertheless, it seems that the Government is more concerned with signing the peace agreement rather than designing a future project about what could happen when violence stops with the guerrilla. Do the Government’s negotiators know the importance of demining as a way to achieve peace? Although in the first agreement there is a reference to victims and justice, what will happen to landmines victims of the next ten years?
The agreement signed between Colombia and the European Union which focuses on the strengthening of initiatives against landmines in 12 of Colombia’s departments, is one more backup to work in demining in the country and to prevent more victims. However, international agreements are not sufficient because many times the population that lives in a high risk area do not know how to avoid stepping a landmine, assisting victims or simply promoting demining.
Dialogues could not be considered successful while the process of demining is not complete. This implies that Farc must be the first ones to answer for the location of the landmines instead of declaring themselves as the main victims of the conflict, a statement that hurts and promotes rancor after more than 50 years of violence.
Yielding in excess is a mistake that could have disastrous consequences for the country if from the start of the negotiation aren’t establish clear, direct and brief negotiation parameters. Why not think beyond the rush of signing peace, and develop a post conflict scenario that comprehensively faces challenges that will emerge if the Government reaches and agreement with Farc?.
Landmines cannot be isolated from the negotiation because it means accepting that the population keeps living with fear of becoming a new victim. It is not the time to give benefits and concessions to a group that if it doesn’t confess the location of the landmines, will keep generating victims, uncertainty and pain.