(Photo: Ulrich Tietze)
An estimated of 11,000 Colombians participated in the "Lend Your Leg 11k" race in Cali and Medellín, on April the 6th, and in Bogotá en Ibagué, on Sunday 13th April 2014, to call for an end to the use of anti-personnel mines in the country.
In Colombia approximately the same number of known victims have been reported since 1990: the Colombian government estimates that over 10,560 Colombians have been killed or wounded by mines since 1990, including approximately 1,071 children (PAICMA April 2014).
Landmines have been used extensively in Colombia's long-running internal conflict between government forces and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other guerrilla and paramilitary organizations.
Among the race participants were members of the country's security forces who have lost limbs to landmines, some of them in wheelchairs or using prosthetic limbs. It was also an opportunity to create links between land-mine victims and the broader group of people with disabilities.
The UNMAS Colombia office was also present with a team of 13 runners, and in preparation to a broader sensitization campaign on Humanitarian Demining, to be launched next June jointly with Arcangeles Foundation (Organizers of the “Lend your Leg” campaign and 11k)
According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), Colombia has the second highest rate of mine casualties in the world, behind only Afghanistan.
The Colombian government and the FARC are currently involved in peace talks in Havana, Cuba, and UNMAS is actively engaged in the UN Inter-agency preparations for a post-conflict scenario.
Photo Album: http://bit.ly/1icSEi1
To learn more about our work in Colombia, please visit here: http://www.mineaction.org/programmes/colombia