Armed conflict in Colombia: International cooperation in support of local organisations

Colombia has been facing an internal conflict for more than 50 years, making it one of the longest conflicts in contemporary history. The country has experienced many violent episodes, and has seen the emergence of organised guerrilla movements and armed groups, whose clashes have dramatic consequences for the population, particularly children.

Since its inception, the Colombian armed conflict has caused a multitude of serious human rights violations that have affected millions of victims. Among them, children and young people are one of the most vulnerable populations, particularly to recruitment. 7964 minors have been forcibly recruited since the beginning of the conflict [1]. This problem persists despite the signing of a ceasefire between the government and armed groups in 2016, marking the official end of hostilities.

Many organisations are mobilising to fight this phenomenon, including COALICO (Coalition against the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in Colombia). Created in 1999, it is a space of convergence for civil society organisations that aim to defend the rights of young people in Colombia and positively transform the situations generated by armed conflict. In particular those related to the use and recruitment of children in armed groups.

COALICO, the IBCR’s partner in Colombia,  has welcomed a volunteer cooperant deployed by the Bureau as part of the Project for the Protection of the Rights of Children, Women and Vulnerable Communities (PRODEF) jointly implemented by IBCR and Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC). In particular, the cooperant was able to support the preparation of the COALICO report on Violated Childhood, girls, boys and adolescents in war, which was given to the magistrates of the Recognition Room of the Special Court for Peace (JEP). This report seeks to support the implementation of a truth jurisdiction for girls and boys victims of armed conflict, and emphasises the crucial importance of restoring and guaranteeing the rights of victims.  

Discover COALICO’s work in Colombia and the involvement of the cooperant Rocío Delmonte Palomares in our latest video!

[1] Source : fact sheet on the Colombian conflict. Lawyers Without Borders Canada.