10 August 2016

In a dialogue between landmine survivors, other members of civil society and government representatives in Santiago, survivors demanded the government to fulfill promises to victims.

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Chilean landmine survivors, 26 July 2016, Santiago, Chile, © Adriana Sandoval/CCCM

On July 26, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Chilean Campaign to Ban Landmines co-hosted the first national preparatory meeting for the 15th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, to be held in Santiago, Chile from 28 November to 2 December of this year. The meeting brought together eight survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war from different parts of the country, other members of civil society and representatives of the Chilean National Demining Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. Camilo Serna, of the Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines and a member of the ICBL’s governance board, represented the ICBL and facilitated the meeting.

Organized by Pamela Velasquez of the Chilean Campaign and held at the University San Sebastian, the meeting offered a space for survivors and government representatives to discuss efforts made to address the challenges facing survivors and the additional steps to be taken to ensure that the rights of all survivors are realized. More concretely, representatives of the Ministry of Defense provided an update on the National Victims’ Law that is still pending government approval, seven years after its initial drafting. Survivors called on the government to ensure the imminent passage of the law, certainly before the international meeting planned for the end of the year.

Participants also discussed programs underway to complete mine clearance in time for Chile’s deadline of March of 2020 and to provide mine risk education to communities living near contaminated areas.

A separate meeting for members of civil society allowed national campaigners space to plan for their effective participation in the 15th Meeting of States Parties. Camilo Serna provided information about Colombia’s Victims’ Law, its evolution and how it has been implemented to date in his country, offering a constructive comparative example to help survivors strategize for the best possible outcome in Chile.

Overall, the national preparatory meeting generated great interest in collaboration between civil society, including survivors, and government representatives to ensure a successful Meeting of States Parties later this year. Participants made plans to develop the contribution of the Chilean campaign with great importance placed on the active role of Chilean survivors. Based on efforts so far, the 15th Meeting of States Parties looks to be a great opportunity for Chile to showcase the progress made in Chile to benefit survivors and the whole population through comprehensive assistance and clearance of landmine contamination, while providing a propitious environment to spur on progress to finish the job by 2025 around the world.

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Mr. Camilo Serna, Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines facilitates the meeting, 26 July 2016, Santiago. ©Adriana Sandoval/CCCM

The 15th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty will provide an opportunity for States Parties to present progress, challenges, plans and needs for assistance and cooperation to achieve their convention obligations and the commitments they made under the 2014 Maputo Action Plan and Maputo+15 Declaration. The meeting will be presided over by the Government of Chile.

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Ms. Pamela Velásquez, Chilean Campaign to Ban Landmines, Mr. Fernando Guzmán, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Mr. Camilo Serna, Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines & member of ICBL's governance board, Mr. Sebastián Salazar, Ministry of Defense of Chile. 27 July 2016, Santiago, Chile, ©Adriana Sandoval/CCCM