In December, the SG released his fifth report on children and armed conflict in Colombia (S/2021/1022), covering the period from July 2019 to June 2021. During this period, the CTFMR verified 383 grave violations against 330 children (217 boys, 109 girls, 4 of unknown sex). Insecurity, access constraints, and underreporting, linked to mistrust of authorities and fear of reprisals, continued to present a challenge for monitoring and reporting. Additional movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated existing challenges. Recruitment and use continued to be the most prevalent grave violation verified (220), followed by killing and maiming (118), rape and other forms of sexual violence (14), and abduction (10). The UN also verified eight attacks on schools and hospitals and 13 incidents of denial of humanitarian access. Dissident FARC-EP groups were the main perpetrators, with 141 violations, followed by the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). The Colombian Armed Forces were found responsible for 19 violations and three incidents of military use of schools, and the Colombian Police Force for two violations. Children from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, including those subject to confinement, movement restrictions, or forcibly displaced by armed groups, remained disproportionally affected by grave violations, and grave violations were verified against at least eight Venezuelan children. The Working Group should:

  • Demand that all armed groups, in particular the ELN and FARC-EP dissidents, immediately release all children under 18 from their ranks and prevent and end all child recruitment, use, and abductions;
  • Urge the Government to continue strengthening 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 girls and indigenous and Afro-Colombian children, and noting vulnerability to recruitment at informal border crossings and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Call on the Government to take measures to prevent harm to children and other civilians, including during military operations by respecting the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution, and to scale up demining and mine risk education activities;
  • Call on all parties to cease attacks and threats of attack on schools and education personnel, as well as to refrain from the military use of schools and educational facilities, and urge the Government to endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration;
  • Welcome ongoing efforts by the Government to strengthen accountability for all grave violations committed against children in armed conflict, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and encourage continued facilitation of child participation in the Truth Commission, where possible and compatible with their best interests;
  • Urge the resumption of peace talks between the Government and ELN, incorporating and prioritizing the protection, rights, well-being, and empowerment of children, pursuant to SCR 2427 (2018) and drawing on the Practical Guidance for Mediators.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – February 2022.


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: 2021; 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.