Colombia’s Minister of Defense asked the United Nations and other international organizations Thursday to focus their attention on the recruitment of child soldiers after a report that said nearly 1,400 children joined guerrilla ranks since 2011.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon reportedly called the guerrilla groups the FARC – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – and the ELN – National Liberation Army – “cowards” for their continued recruitment of minors into their ranks. Pinzon went on saying the practice of recruiting child soldiers made the children “canon fodder” in the ongoing armed conflict between the government and the leftist groups.
Pinzon made his statements against the recruitment of child soldiers at an event in Bogota advocating a new initiative called “Here you have a plan” which will strive to call the attention of all children and their families in Colombia to the human rights violations child soldiers face in the ranks of the FARC and ELN. The initiative is part of a group – GAHD – organized by the Ministry of Defense two years ago focused on bring humanitarian attention to demobilized members of armed groups. The group has reportedly spoken with over 180,000 Colombian minors about the dangers of joining an armed group.
Pinzon noted in his speech that 60 percent of the 31,550 demobilized fighters living in the Colombia were minors. 85 percent of the demobilized minors were reportedly members of the FARC and the remaining 15 percent were members of the ELN. 60 child soldiers were said to have demobilized since the beginning of 2014.
- Mindefensa pidió a la ONU incluir el reclutamiento de menores como un asunto de interés mundial (Ministerio de Defensa Nacional)
- Mindefensa presenta nueva campaña contra el reclutamiento de menores en todo el país (Ministerio de Degensa Nacional)
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