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Antipersonnel mines in Colombia : engaging non-state actors through norm compliance and construction Navas, Luisa

Abstract

Due to Colombia's internal conflict the use of antipersonnel mines is common among the non-state actors that operate in the territory. With the Ottawa Treaty many states complied towards a ban of the use of antipersonnel mines, but the Treaty was not an instrument for non-state actors to sign. Thus, the importance of establishing the mechanisms or instruments available to engage these groups with a ban on landmines, as these weapons have killed and injured millions of innocent people around the world without choosing or differentiating their victims. As states complied with an existent norm and were taught by non-governmental organizations that the problem of landmines had to be solved this is not done as easily with nonstate actors. Through literature review, and published data analysis the main conclusion is that these groups are willing to give up their arms only when it is better for them to negotiate a peace process than to keep fighting in the conflict. If they have the military and economic power to maintain themselves at war then they are not willing to negotiate. A solution might be to arrange local processes that lead to national ones, working in conjunction with non-governmental organizations, and international ones in mine risk education programs, and mine awareness. It is essential to involve the local communities in these types of processes. Since trust and confidentiality are necessary for the parts to negotiate, social processes are needed and constructivism is able to explain how these can be achieved. Transmitting ideas, values and common beliefs to the different parts in the conflict is explained through constructivism. As one of the principles of this stream is that power and self-interest are not everything but there has to be some common values and ideas involved in such processes, where other actors, not only the states are to be taken into consideration, it is important to take ideas into account as a social construction of a process that should start when the countries are still suffering from an internal conflict.

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