Combatants, landmines and reconciliation


In Episode 02, Dr. Riwtik hosts researcher Gabriela Villacis Izquierdo, a doctoral candidate at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Gabriela provides a comprehensive insight into her work that revolves around her engagement with former combatants in Colombia, actively involved in the task of humanitarian demining to reclaim the country’s contaminated lands.

Former combatants in Colombia, who have laid down their arms, frequently find gainful employment as humanitarian de-miners. They play a crucial role in clearing land, especially in regions inhabited by indigenous communities, as they seek new means of livelihood. These ex-fighters are invaluable assets to demining efforts due to their extensive expertise in identifying the precise locations of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). They also possess intricate knowledge of various types of explosive devices, including landmines with non-metal casings, which pose unique challenges for detection.

Moreover, these former combatants possess a deep familiarity with the local terrain, making them well-suited for operating in challenging environments. Their years or even decades of residence in these areas have honed their ability to navigate difficult settings, further enhancing their effectiveness in demining initiatives.

Gabriela’s current research in Colombia focuses on the contributions of feminism(s) to humanitarian governance, with an emphasis on the potential of collective action and humanitarian advocacy. In her transformative approach, she delves into critical elements in post-conflict situations such as power dynamics, political considerations, ethical implications, and the pivotal role played by crisis-affected populations.


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