Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 09 October 2018


The Republic of Colombia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 6 September 2000, and became a State Party on 1 March 2001.

Law 759, which took effect on 25 July 2002, serves as Colombia’s implementing legislation for the Mine Ban Treaty.[1] Colombia reports that activities prohibited by the treaty are criminalized by its Penal Code.[2] It has also enacted laws on victim assistance, land restitution, and mine clearance.[3]

Colombia submitted its 17th Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency measures report on 30 April 2018, detailing its actions to implement the treaty during 2017.[4]

Colombia has made significant contributions to the Mine Ban Treaty at the highest levels, including by hosting the Second Review Conference in Cartagena in November–December 2009. It has participated in the two other Review Conference and every Meeting of States Parties, most recently the Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties in Vienna in December 2017. Colombia has attended all of the treaty’s intersessional meetings in Geneva since 1999, most recently in June 2018.

In 2018–2019, Colombia is serving as on the Mine Ban Treaty’s Committee on Article 5 (mine clearance implementation).[5]

In September 2016, the government of Colombia concluded a peace accord with the country’s main non-state armed group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo, FARC-EP) that has resulted in a major effort to clear mine-affected areas.[6]

Colombia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines.

The Colombian Campaign against Landmines (Campaña Colombiana contra Minas, CCCM) works to address the country’s extensive landmine problem.[7] On 4 April each year since 2011, Colombians have participated in an annual Remángate (“Roll-up”) action, in which people roll-up a pant leg in support of efforts against landmines and in solidarity with victims.[8]

Production, transfer, use, and stockpiling

Colombia’s State Military Industry (Industria Militar, INDUMIL) ceased production of antipersonnel mines in September 1998 and destroyed its production equipment on 18 November 1999.[9]

The government of Colombia is not known to have ever exported antipersonnel mines.

Colombia reported completion of the destruction of its stockpile of 18,531 antipersonnel mines on 24 October 2004.[10]

Colombia has retained the same number of mines for training purposes since 2007. It declared a total of 586 MAP-1 mines retained for training purposes in its 2009 Article 7 report and has never provided a number in subsequent reports, but has instead stated that there has been “no change” in information previously provided.[11] Colombia last destroyed or consumed mines in training activities in 2006, when 300 retained mines were destroyed in three separate events.[12]

Colombia has not reported in detail on the intended purposes and actual uses of its retained mines, as agreed by States Parties, but in 2011, Colombia informed the Monitor that the mines were “used for training the humanitarian demining units [of the armed forces], in the use of equipment for mine clearance.”[13]

Production and use by non-state armed groups

Both the FARC and the National Liberation Army (Unión Camilista-Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) have manufactured antipersonnel mines as well as remotely controlled improvised landmines. Colombia’s Article 7 reports contain detailed information on at least 12 different types of mines produced by non-state armed groups (NSAGs), including antipersonnel, antivehicle, and Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines. Some fitted with antihandling devices.[14]

There were several reports and allegations of new use of antipersonnel mines by NSAGs in Colombia during the reporting period.[15]

AColombian Presidential Program for Comprehensive Mine Action(Acción Integral Contra Minas Antipersonal-Descontamina Colombia, PAICMA)country-wide review of records of landmines cleared by the Colombian Army during military operations as well as reported landmine casualties and Colombian Army seizures of improvised landmines, attempts to attribute responsibility for mine use during 2017 and the first half of 2018.[16] It found that residual or dissident FARC forces were responsible for 306 mine incidents in 2017 and for the 341 incidents recorded in the first half of 2018, while ELN forces were responsible for 219 mine incidents recorded in 2017 and for 48 in the first half of 2018. It also attributed mine incidents to criminal groups or paramilitaries, often working with drug traffickers.

Previous Use

From 1999 through 2016, Landmine Monitor reported extensive use of landmines in Colombia by the FARC and by other NSAGs.

On 24 November 2016, FARC and the Colombian government signed a final agreement committing both parties to end their long-running armed conflict and build peace, including through mine clearance.[17] FARC ex-combatants established a civil organization in 2017 to contribute to survey and mine clearance activities.[18]

An October 2017 ceasefire agreement between the government of Colombia and the ELN included a commitment not to use antipersonnel landmines.[19] As of August 2018, the temporary ceasefire accord between the government and ELN, which expired in January 2018, had not been reviewed.[20] Negotiations continue and include a commitment to initiate demining activities and prevent more mines from being used.[21]

[1] For details on penal sanctions and other aspects of Law 759, see Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 6 May 2005; and Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 255.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, April 2014.

[3] For more information, see Landmine Monitor, “Country Profile: Colombia: Mine Action,” 11 December 2017.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, 30 April 2018. It submitted its initial transparency report on 15 March 2002 and has provided annual updates since 2002.

[5] Previously, Colombia served as co-chair of the treaty’s Committee on Victim Assistance in 2016–2017; the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education, and Mine Action Technologies in 2011; and the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration in 2002–2003.

[6] Acuerdo Final para la Terminación del Conflicto y la Construcción de una Paz Estable y Duradera, 24 August 2016, signed 26 September 2016, in Havana, Cuba. Negotiations on the accord began in November 2012. However, it was rejected in a nationwide plebiscite on 2 October 2016.

[7] The CCCM was established in 2000 and has local sections in 22 of the 32 departments of Colombia.

[8] See, Ana Maria Plata, “Antioquia police and government join in Remángate,”, 4 April 2017.

[9] Interviews with Eng. Sergio Rodríguez, Second Technical Manager, INDUMIL, 5 July 2000, and 24 July 2001. As of 2001, INDUMIL was still producing Claymore-type directional fragmentation mines. Colombia has stated that these mines are used only in command-detonated mode, as permitted by the Mine Ban Treaty. However, Colombia has not reported on steps it has taken to ensure that these mines are used only in command-detonated mode.

[10] In addition to the 18,531 mines destroyed, the government reported three other destructions of a total of 3,404 antipersonnel mines. Over the years, there have been many inconsistencies and discrepancies in Colombia’s count of stockpiled mines and their destruction. The Ministry of Defense sent a letter to the Monitor in September 2005 to clarify many of the problems. For details see, Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 302.

[11] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2018.

[12] In 2003–2004, Colombia reported it retained 986 mines for training. In 2005, it reduced that number to 886. In 2006, Colombia destroyed 300 more mines, but the number retained has not changed since December 2006. See, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, pp. 267–268; and Landmine Monitor Report 2006, pp. 302–303.

[13] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Amb. Alicia Arango Olmos, Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations in Geneva, 13 May 2011.

[14] Presentation by the Colombian Armed Forces, “Desarrollo Compromiso con la Convención de Ottawa” (“Development Commitment with the Ottawa Convention”), Bogotá, 6 March 2006. Antipersonnel mines and IEDs manufactured by armed groups are constructed out of everything from glass bottles to plastic jerry cans. The explosive used is normally ANFO (made from fertilizer), but sometimes is a conventional explosive such as TNT. The mines are initiated by pressure-activated syringe fuzes (chemical initiation), battery-operated fuzes, and electric fuzes activated by both pressure and tripwires. These mines often have high levels of metal fragmentation in them.

[15] See, for example, “Ejército destruye 100 minas antipersonal del grupo armado organizado residual Frente Primero en el Guaviare,” Ejercito National, 9 June 2018 (100 mines found in dissident FARC cache); “Ejército desmantela taller de fabricación de explosivos, en Chocó,” El Tiempo, 12 June 2018 (177 mines found in ELN cache); and “Armada decomisa 444 minas antipersonal en Putumayo,” El Colombiano, 3 October 2017 (444 mines found in a dissident FARC cache).

[16] Information provided to Landmine Monitor in an email sent from Mariany Monroy Torres, Advisor, PAICMA, 30 July 2018.

[17] Acuerdo Final para la Terminación del Conflicto y la Construcción de una Paz Estable y Duradera, numeral, Bogotá, 24 November 2016.

[18] Humanicemos DH has received support from UNMAS, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the European Union, the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, Norwegian People’s Aid, Humanity & Inclusion, HALO Trust, CCCM, and from the government agency Descontamina Colombia. Email from Camilo Serna, Researcher, CCCM, 16 August 2018.

[19]Colombia Cease-Fire Agreement Takes Effect Sunday,” Voice of America, 30 September 2017; and “Acuerdo y comunicado sobre el cese al fuego bilateral y temporal entre el Gobierno y el ELN,” Oficina del alto comisionando para la paz, Quito, 4 September 2017.

[20] Adriaan Alsima, “Colombia’s ELN rebels blame government for failure to agree to ceasefire,” Colombia Reports, 2 July 2018.