The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) is listed in the Secretary-General’s (SG’s) annual report on children and armed conflict for recruitment and use. In January, the Council will receive a briefing on the SG’s 90-day report (S/2018/1159) on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. Several important developments marked the reporting period, including the first 100 days in office of President Iván Duque, the two-year anniversary of the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement between the Government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP), and the inauguration of a truth and reconciliation commission. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace, established under the peace accord, continued its work during this time, despite threats to its impartiality and independence (S/2018/1159, para. 11). Dialogue between the Government and the ELN was suspended in August.  The ELN has rejected any preconditions to peace talks, including the Duque government’s demand for the release of all hostages and cessation of all criminal activity. In addition to continuing hostilities with the ELN, violence and insecurity caused by FARC-EP dissidents, the Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL), post-demobilization armed groups, and criminal groups continue to put children and their communities at risk, disproportionately affecting Afrocolombian and indigenous communities. The Government continued to support the reintegration of 124 separated from the FARC-EP as children in 2016 and 2017 (most of whom are now over 18). The provision of preventive health, education, and cultural activities for children remains an urgent challenge. Council Members should:

  • Call upon all parties to take concrete and effective measures to avoid and prevent child casualties during hostilities, including protecting schools, hospitals, and other civilian objects;
  • Strongly encouraging the Government and the ELN to resume peace talks, urge the ELN to immediately release all under 18s from its ranks and end all child recruitment and abductions;
  • Encourage the Government to strengthen its efforts to protect children’s rights, including economic, social, and cultural rights;
  • Remind the Government of its obligations under the peace accord and relevant national and international laws on child rights to ensure the effective rehabilitation and reintegration of children formerly associated with armed groups; in particular, urge the National Reintegration Council to include newly identified cases of adolescents formerly associated with the FARC-EP in the reintegration program as soon as possible.

The United Kingdom is the lead country on Colombia.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – January 2019.


Since 2003, Watchlist has partnered with the Coalition against the Involvement of Boys, Girls, and Youth in the Armed Conflict in Colombia (COALICO), including through joint advocacy, trainings, and support for COALICO’s work on monitoring and reporting on child rights violations. A national civil society platform established in 1999 to promote and protect the rights of boys and girls affected by the armed conflict, COALICO coordinates the Observatory on Children and Armed Conflict that monitors and reports on grave violations against children in Colombia. It also participates as a permanent member of the UN-led Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR).


UN Action

Year listed: 2003
Action Plans signed: No
Sanctions Committee: No
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Colombia: 201620122009
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Colombia: 20172012; 2010
UN Mission: UN Mission in Colombia

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) a a
Autodefensas Unidas del Sur del Casanare (AUSC) a a a a
Autodefensas Campesinas de Cordoba y Uraba (ACCU) a a
Autodefensas de Magdalena Medio (ACMM) a a
Autodefensas del Meta (AM) a a
Autodefensas Campesinas del Sur del Cesar (ACSC) a
Autodefensas del Puerto Boyaca (APB) a
Autodefensas de Cundinamarca (AC) a
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – Bloque Centauros a
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – Bloque Norte a
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – Bloque Mineros a
Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – Bloque Pacifico a
Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) a a
Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP)* a,c,e a,b,c,e,f a,b,c,d,e a a a a a a a a
Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN)* a a a,c,e a,b,c,e,f a,b,c,d a a a a a a a a
Frente Cacique Pipinta a,b,c,e a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.