The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) is listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2021 annual report (S/2021/437) on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for recruitment and use. In October, the mandate of the UN Verification Mission for Colombia is up for renewal, pursuant to SCR 2574 (2021). In May, the Security Council expanded the mission’s mandate to include monitoring implementation of sentences handed down by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción especial para la paz), which was established by the 2016 peace agreement. According to the SG’s June periodic report (S/2021/603), the Technical Working Group on Children of the National Reintegration Council has been reactivated and is meeting to address challenges related to security and protection concerns. In his latest annual report on CAAC, the SG called on the Government to allocate adequate resources to implement its national action plan to prevent the recruitment and use of children and sexual violence against children and the “Súmate por mí” program to prevent child recruitment and use by armed groups, including in indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. He also expressed concern about the continuing recruitment and use of children by armed groups and the increase in killing and maiming of children; in response, he called for continued demining and risk reduction education and strengthened prevention and response for sexual violence. 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 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;
  • Call on the Government to take measures to protect children and other civilians during military operations, including respecting the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution;
  • Call on the Government to strengthen accountability for all grave violations committed against children in armed conflict, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and for attacks against social leaders, human rights defenders, and conflict-affected communities, particularly those resulting in child casualties;
  • Call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Security Council Working Group on CAAC’s (SCWG-CAAC) recommendations elaborated in its fourth conclusions on the situation of children and armed conflict in Colombia.

The United Kingdom is the lead country on Colombia.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – October 2021.


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.