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Press release: Mine action organizations launch campaign to demand respect for their humanitarian work in Colombia

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Bogotá, 1 December 2022 - Humanitarian organizations that carry out Humanitarian Demining (HD), Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) and landmines Victims Assistance (VA) in Colombia launched this Thursday the campaign "Mine action is humanitarian action", with which they seek to promote humanitarian access and demand respect for their work in the regions most affected by contamination with explosive devices. The campaign comes in response to various security incidents the organizations have faced since the end of 2021.

"Due to the reconfiguration of the different conflicts in Colombia, the organizations' teams have become targets of threats, acts of intimidation and even attacks, events that limit humanitarian access and ultimately affect communities in need of EORE, HD and VA. This campaign is to remind all actors in the regions that mine action organizations are governed by the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, and that it is imperative to facilitate and respect their work", said Pablo Parra, Chief of Mine Action Programme of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Colombia.

In a survey conducted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in December 2021, 79% of humanitarian actors in Colombia stated that access restrictions increased significantly last year, a situation that has continued throughout 2022.

This is an initiative of the Mine Action Area of Responsibility (MA AoR), which brings together some 15 organizations in the sector and is led by UNMAS. The campaign will include the dissemination of communications materials in social networks and the broadcasting of radio spots in eleven departments (Antioquia, Arauca, Chocó, Casanare, Cauca, Caquetá, Guaviare, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander and Putumayo) that present the highest contamination with explosive devices and where the presence of armed actors has generated limitations in humanitarian access to the organizations.

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