CPT Colombia stands in solidarity and asks for prayers for girls, boys, and youth who are victims of the war that our country is experiencing. In working toward “total peace,” it is necessary that we create more effective mechanisms to avoid connecting children and youth with war. Demilitarizing the territories, the minds, the lives, and the countryside is now increasingly necessary in a context where armed confrontation continues to increase.
As armed confrontation intensifies, the possibility of children growing up in a healthy environment and with full access to and guarantees of rights is further reduced, especially for the rural population who have less access to state resources.
Growing up in a country like Colombia is not easy, and even less so for children and youth, who constantly face multiple violations of their rights. For example, it is worrisome how situations of ‘Indigenous girls and militarization’—where the militarization of their lives results in a lack of basic rights as well as an increased likelihood of abuse. These realities are repeated throughout the national territory. That is why, as subjects of special attention, they must be centred in public policy agenda, primarily to avoid children and youth exposure to and involvement in war.
On 12 February 2023, Red Hands Day was commemorated in Colombia: “21 years since the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, regarding the participation of children in armed conflicts.”
Likewise, on 25 April 2023 in a public statement, The Coalition against the Linking of Children and Youth to the Armed Conflict in Colombia (COALICO), “expresses its concern and makes an urgent call to the National Government to act coherently with its obligations of comprehensive protection of the rights of girls, boys and adolescents in the context of armed conflict.”
The Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) also published a joint statement where they reinforce the requests to the Colombian state.