In January, the Working Group received the Secretary-General’s (SG) fourth report on children and armed conflict in Colombia (S/2019/1017), covering the period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019. During this period, the Country Task Force (CTFMR) verified 850 grave violations against children, a notable decrease as compared with the previous reporting period, attributed in part to the signing of a peace agreement in 2016. However, delays in implementation of the agreement and the transformation of the conflict – including the strengthening and resurgence of armed groups in areas of the country – have led to grave violations of children’s rights. Recruitment and use of children, in particular by the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) and dissident groups of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP), was the most prominent grave violation verified. Yet there is significant evidence of underreporting of child recruitment, as local experts told Human Rights Watch in a recent reportThe Working Group should:

  • Demand that all armed groups, in particular the ELN and FARC-EP dissidents, immediately release all children under 18 years old from their ranks and end all child recruitment and abductions;
  • Call upon all parties, including State and non-State armed actors, to abide by their obligations under human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction and proportionality, and to take measures to protect children during military operations;
  • Urge the Government to continue to strengthen prevention efforts, particularly to prevent the recruitment and use of both Colombian and Venezuelan children, including those from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities; prevention programs should be adequately resourced, especially at the local level, to respond to individual cases in line with the best interests of the child;
  • Welcoming progress on transitional justice, including the opening of case 007 by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in March 2019, remind the Government of its obligation to ensure the protection of victims and witnesses, including children formerly associated with armed groups and their families and communities;
  • Urge the Government to strengthen the institutions of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Non-Repetition, taking into account the individual needs of child and youth victims and ensuring their access not only to financial reparations, but also to psychosocial support, livelihoods, education, family reunification, and land restitution.


This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – February 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: 20172012; 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.