Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 14 November 2023


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

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

Colombia has submitted a total of 22 annual transparency reports under Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty since 2002, with its most recent update provided on 5 April 2023.[4]

Colombia has participated in every meeting of the Mine Ban Treaty and hosted the Second Review Conference in Cartagena in November–December 2009.[5] Colombia attended the Nineteenth Meeting of States Parties held virtually in November 2021, and the intersessional meetings in Geneva in June 2022 and June 2023.

Colombia has made significant contributions to the Mine Ban Treaty at the highest level, and served as President of the Twentieth Meeting of States Parties in November 2022.[6]

Colombia is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines, and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war (ERW). Colombia is also party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. 

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Colombia’s State Military Industry (Industria Militar, INDUMIL) ended production of antipersonnel landmines in September 1998, and destroyed its production equipment on 18 November 1999.[7]

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

Colombia completed the destruction of its stockpile of 18,531 antipersonnel mines on 24 October 2004.[8]

Colombia no longer retains any landmines for training purposes. In 2014, Colombia reported that it had destroyed its 586 previously retained MAP-1 mines.[9]


There is no evidence that Colombian government forces have used antipersonnel mines since the Mine Ban Treaty’s adoption.

Use by non-state armed groups

Colombia has detailed 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.[10] Its Article 7 report submitted in 2022 reiterated that antipersonnel landmines are manufactured and used both by organized armed groups, and by criminal enterprises involved in the production of narcotics and illegal mineral extraction.[11]

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo, FARC-EP or FARC), National Liberation Army (Unión Camilista-Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN), Popular Liberation Army (El Ejército Popular de Liberación, EPL), and other NSAGs in Colombia continue to produce and use antipersonnel landmines.

In 2022, there were 105 incidents of mine use in Colombia attributed to the ELN, 224 incidents of mine use attributed to FARC, and 26 incidents of mine use attributed to the GAO Clan del Golfo.[12] This represents a 30% annual increase on incidents of mine use reported during 2021.

During the first seven months of 2023, a total of 50 incidents of mine use were attributed to the ELN, 241 incidents to FARC, and seven incidents to the GAO Clan del Golfo.[13]

In February 2023, the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace stated that the departments of Bolívar, Chocó, Nariño, and Putumayo were all seriously affected by use of antipersonnel mines, and called on all actors to halt use.[14] There were numerous additional reports up to mid-2023 of military and civilian mine casualties in Antioquia, Arauca, Bolívar, Cauca, Chocó, Huila, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, and Valle del Cauca. These are all regions where armed conflict was ongoing between the National Army of Colombia and NSAGs. It is difficult to determine precisely when these mines were laid.[15]

In Balboa municipality, Cauca department, new contamination from antipersonnel mines was first reported in July 2022, amid fighting between FARC dissidents and another armed group and the National Army of Colombia. The area had previously been cleared of landmines.[16]

As in previous years, media reports continued to detail new mine use and seizures of improvised landmines. In February 2023, the National Army of Colombia discovered a cache of 2,100 improvised antipersonnel mines in Los Andes village in Puerto Concordia municipality, Meta department. Each pressure-activated mine contained about half a kilogram of ANFO-based explosive and 200 grams of shrapnel.[17] In May 2023, a cache of improvised antipersonnel mines was discovered in Tumaco, Nariño department.[18] Colombia’s military also discovered a cache of improvised mines in Vista Hermosa, Meta department, in July 2023.[19]

In March 2023, the National Army of Colombia discovered improvised antipersonnel mines laid in Polín sector in Acandí municipality, Chocó department. This use was attributed to a faction of the GAO Clan del Golfo. The mines were laid in an area transited by migrants seeking to travel north through Panama.[20]

In November 2016, the government of Colombia signed a final peace agreement with FARC, which committed both parties to end the armed conflict and engage in peacebuilding, including through mine clearance.[21] Subsequently, some FARC dissidents abandoned the peace agreement and resumed armed activities against the government.[22] More recently, former FARC fighters have reportedly begun providing information on areas mined during the armed conflict to the Colombian authorities, under the framework of the 2016 peace deal.[23]

In June 2023, a ceasefire was formally agreed between government of Colombia and the ELN. Negotiations continue on a comprehensive peace settlement. Within the formal ceasefire is a Protocol of Specific Actions for the Bilateral, Temporary and National Ceasefire, which commits the ELN not to undermine the principles and guidelines of international humanitarian law, or carry out offensive actions.[24]

[1] For details on penal sanctions and other aspects of Law 759, see Colombia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form A, 6 May 2005. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database; and ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2005: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2005), p. 255.

[2] Colombia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form A.

[3] ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Colombia: Mine Action,” updated 11 December 2017.

[4] Colombia submitted its initial report on 15 March 2002 and has provided updated reports each year since.

[5] Colombia participated in the treaty’s review conferences held in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019, and has attended every Meeting of States Parties, in addition to all intersessional meetings.

[6] Amb. Alicia Victoria Arango Olmos initially served in this role following her election at the Nineteenth Meeting of States Parties. However, Amb. Olmos resigned the presidency “[d]ue to unforeseen personal circumstances” in May 2022. She was replaced by Amb. Alvaro Enrique Ayala Melendez.

[7] Monitor interviews with 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 stated that these mines are used only in command-detonated mode, as permitted by the Mine Ban Treaty. However, Colombia has not reported on the steps it has taken to ensure that these mines are used only in command-detonated mode.

[8] In addition to the 18,531 mines destroyed, the government reported three other destructions of a total of 3,404 antipersonnel mines. For details, see, ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2006: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, July 2006), p. 302.

[9] Colombia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2013), Form D, p. 13.

[10] Presentation by the Colombian Armed Forces, “Development Commitment with the Ottawa Convention,” Bogotá, 6 March 2006. Antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices (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.

[11] The bodies of the improvised antipersonnel mines are primarily non-metallic, using both commercial high explosives as well as improvised explosives from agricultural chemicals, and are activated by either electronic or chemical detonators. Most are activated by pressure, though some are activated by tension (trip) wires. Colombia Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2022), pp. 72–74.

[12] Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, sourced from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights database of events by MAP/MUSE.

[13] Ibid.

[14]Warning of the effects of antipersonnel mines in Colombia,” La Prensa Latina, 23 February 2023.

[15] See, data on incidents and casualties compiled by the Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Campaña Colombiana contra minas, CCCM) for Landmine Monitor 2023 (forthcoming); and ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Colombia: Impact,” updated 2023 (forthcoming). See, Monitor website.

[17] Francy Villarreal Ruiz, “Destruction of 2,000 antipersonnel mines in Meta,” Caracol Radio, 13 February 2023 (no longer available online).

[21]Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace,”, p. 24, November 2016. Subsequently, an October 2017 ceasefire agreement between the government of Colombia and the ELN included a commitment not to use antipersonnel landmines, however the ceasefire expired without renewal in 2018. See, “Colombia Cease-Fire Agreement Takes Effect Sunday,” Voice of America, 30 September 2017; and Adriaan Alsema, “Colombia’s ELN rebels blame government for failure to agree to ceasefire,” Colombia Reports, 2 July 2018.

[22] Megan Janetsky, “Ex-FARC leaders’ return to arms brings back memories of bloodshed,” Al Jazeera, 30 August 2019.

[23] For example, in December 2021, a former FARC member provided information on the location of antipersonnel mines laid during fighting in Magdalena Medio. “Alert in the south of Bolivar due to the presence of paramilitaries,” Prensa Colombia, 20 December 2021.

[24] There is no specific mention of non-use of landmines as an obligation under the protocol, but it is informally understood to mean that during the ceasefire, the ELN will not lay mines or carry out hostile actions of a military nature against the security forces and, especially, against civilians. Email from Camilo Ernesto Serna V, Deputy Director, CCCM, 17 July 2023.