Colombia negotiators urge guerrillas to cease landmine use

Columbia negotiators have condemned the widespread use of landmines when 7-year-old girl killed after stepping on landmine.

Colombia negotiators urge guerrillas to cease landmine use

 World Bulletin / News Desk

Members of the government’s negotiating team on Thursday each rolled up one pants leg to express solidarity with the family of a schoolgirl who was killed by a landmine.

“This is a true humanitarian tragedy. We must clean Colombian territory. As you all know, the Colombian state stopped using landmines decades ago,” Humberto de la Calle told reporters in Havana where Colombian negotiators and FARC rebels began round 37 of peace talks.

He also called on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to publicly commit to not use landmines as part of a pilot program for a joint humanitarian demining effort agreed between the military and rebels in the last round of dialogues.

“The time has arrived for the FARC to assume the responsibility and not place another landmine. It is paradoxical that while we are about to begin a pilot program of demining that this tragedy should happen and it should be vehemently condemned,” said De la Calle.

Ingrid Guejía Guecio, 7, and a few of her classmates used a short cut on their return home from school Wednesday in the hamlet of Aguaclara. The second-grader stepped on a landmine and was killed. Three of her classmates were also injured in the explosion in the department of Cauca – 48 miles south of the town of Buenos Aires where a FARC attack last month left 11 soldiers dead and 20 others injured.

Ingrid’s death has caused outrage across Colombia and President Juan Manuel Santos has called for the urgent implementation of the demining program.

“We lament the death of the little girl in Cauca due to a landmine. I have given instructions to speed up the implementation of the demining process so that these tragedies no longer happen,” Santos said on Twitter.

FARC  and the Colombian government have reached agreements during the peace talks in Cuba on how to begin to rid Colombia of landmines but have yet to start the process.

The dialogues which began in November 2012 have addressed political participation, agricultural reform and illicit drugs in an attempt to bring an end to the conflict in Colombia which has killed 220,000 people and displaced more than 5 million since 1963.  

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Mayıs 2015, 09:40