The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) is listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2020 annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for recruitment and use. In September, the UN Verification Mission’s mandate is up for renewal, pursuant to SCR 2487 (2019). Briefing the Council in July, UN Special Representative Carlos Ruiz Massieu highlighted concerning trends, including increased attacks against human rights defenders and local community leaders, as well as rising cases of sexual and gender-based violence and heightened risk of recruitment and use of children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (SCWG-CAAC) adopted its latest conclusions on Colombia. The Security Council should:

  • Demand that all armed groups, in particular the ELN and FARC-EP dissidents, immediately release all children under 18 from their ranks and end all child recruitment, use, and abductions;
  • Urge the Government to continue to strengthen efforts to prevent the recruitment and use of both Colombian and Venezuelan children, as well as other grave violations, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable, including those from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities;
  • Call upon all parties, including State and non-State armed actors, to abide by their obligations under International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), including the principles of distinction and proportionality, and to take measures to protect children during military operations;
  • Express concern over cases of sexual violence against children by members of the Colombian Armed Forces, and call on the Government to ensure comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate response and protection services for child survivors of sexual violence, and to hold perpetrators accountable;
  • Call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the SCWG-CAAC’s recommendations elaborated in its fourth and previous conclusions on Colombia.


The United Kingdom is the lead country on Colombia.


This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – September 2020.


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: 2019; 201620122009
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Colombia: 202020172012; 2010
UN Mission: UN Verification 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.