Published on Mine Action Information Center, by Elisabeth Reusse-Decrey, President, Geneva Call, not dated.
Engaging Non-State Actors in the Fight Against Landmines, A Key to Negotiating Peace in Colombia
Excerpt: … Conclusion: Lessons Learned
Even if the ultimate objective of a total ban on anti-personnel mines currently seems out of reach, there is space for improving the lives of populations that face the threat of landmines on a daily basis. One rebel recently stated that it is not necessary to have peace in order to save lives. This valuable statement is particularly relevant to the situation in Colombia.
By way of conclusion, let us recall the following lessons learned from Geneva Call’s involvement in Colombia:
- Discussing a concrete and tangible topic such as landmines can open up new possibilities of dialogue and bring actors who would otherwise refuse to speak to each other together because the acute need for solutions to the humanitarian issue posed by mines is uncontested;
- The involvement of the national government is indispensable. However, an NGO such as Geneva Call can assume a role that governments can rarely afford to play, especially in a complex political reality such as the one in Colombia;
- By raising awareness of the problem of landmines, it is possible to find common ground for negotiating regional humanitarian agreements. This approach, which begins locally and expands regionally, has been the key to achieving peace in Colombia;
- The fight against landmines, approached inclusively through the parallel engagement of state and non-state actors, has proven to be central to reopening peace talks between the government of Colombia and the ELN.
… (full long text).