More than 200,000 children and adolescents were affected by the armed conflict in Colombia in the first half of 2022, according to Bulletin 27 of the Observatory of Children and Armed Conflict of COALICO – ONCA, published on August 6, 2020. 2022.
The Alliance for Colombian Children, on behalf of the 22 civil society organizations that make it up, acknowledges the relevance of the national government’s statement made by the Minister of Defense, Iván Velázquez Gómez, last Thursday, August 25, according to which: “It may there are no operations that endanger the lives of employed minors (…). The bombings must be stopped, we will assess the specific moment when an absolute direction can be given”. (El País newspaper, August 25, 2022).
The above constitutes the recognition of children and adolescents as subjects of special protection in accordance with the provisions of international humanitarian law, which determines the obligation of the state and of each armed actor to assess the deployment of military actions that put at risk the life and overall development of children. There is currently an increase in the number of minors directly affected by the armed conflict in the country. In the first half of 2022, at least 242,241 children and adolescents were directly affected by these events, compared to 14,321 recorded in 2021 d.*.
Given the current landscape of violence, we recognize an end to the bombing as the first vital action to care for children. However, we know that much more action is needed, which is why we invite the public debate to focus on making visible the root causes and reasons why girls, boys and adolescents are victims of recruitment, use and exploitation in conflict. our country. In the same line, we appeal to the state and the competent authorities to ensure the guarantee of life, in such a way that no minor is involved in these actions, thus directing their actions to ensure the best interest of the child . and the girl in all environments.
There is an urgent need to promote the development of opportunities for families, to seek to strengthen the social presence of the state in the territories and to expand the access of children and adolescents to educational institutions, with initiatives such as the single day, among others. , which aim to restore a protective environment for children. This is how we propose to the National Government, as a second step in this commitment to children who are victims of armed conflict, that the educational environment be protected by adopting the Safe Schools Declaration, facilitating these to be spaces for peace, reconciliation and encounter.
Faced with this vital environment for the development of children and adolescents, it is important to note that attacks on schools in the country have increased since the signing of the peace accords, going from 20 to 35 according to the 2022 report of the Global Coalition to Protect Education of attacks (CGPEA), attacks that include acts of sexual violence, situations of recruitment, use and exploitation of children, as well as human rights violations against teachers and military use of educational facilities.
From civil society, we will continue to promote and accompany these actions that promote the well-being of children and adolescents, as we are sure that many of the serious situations that affect them can be overcome by working in coordination with the government and civil society as guarantors of the overall protection of children in Colombia.
* The figures are published according to Bulletin 27 issued by the Observatory on Children and Armed Conflict of COALICO – ONCA (Coalition Against the Involvement of Children and Young People in Armed Conflict in Colombia).
About World Vision
World Vision is a global development, humanitarian aid and advocacy (political advocacy and mobilization) organization based on Christian principles, focused on helping the most vulnerable children overcome poverty and experience the fullness of life, regardless of political differences, religion, race, ethnicity or gender. In Colombia, World Vision has had a national presence for 43 years, accompanying the childhood and adolescence of thousands of Colombians, from two approaches: well-being and comprehensive protection with tenderness.