Colombia’s civilians have been pulled into a decades-long civil war among the government’s forces, paramilitary groups and their successors, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the People’s Liberation Army (ELN). During the conflict, girls and boys have been subjected to forced recruitment, rape and sexual violence, killing and maiming, and have been seriously affected by attacks against schools and the denial of humanitarian assistance, according to the 2011 UN Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in Colombia. More than half of an estimated 3.9 – 5.3 million internally displaced people in Colombia are under 18, rendering them even more vulnerable to the threats that caused them to flee their homes in the first place.
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“The issues [of children in conflict settings] have become much more visible and more widely known because of Watchlist – by policy makers in New York, certainly, but also beyond New York.”
Frank Williams, Director and United Nations Representative , World Vision International, New York