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Wednesday, 14 September 2016 00:00

UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Welcomes the Planned Separation of Children Associated with the FARC-EP

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Source: UN

New York – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, welcomes the announcement by the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) that they will begin the separation and reintegration of all children under 18 associated with the FARC-EP on 10 September.

“I am heartened to see that the commitment and tireless efforts of all those involved in this process, especially the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, are about to bring tangible results for children deeply affected by the conflict,” declared Leila Zerrougui. The separation and reintegration of children will be done in compliance with the agreement signed in Havana, Cuba on 15 May 2016. 

On Tuesday, the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP further agreed on a protocol detailing steps for the separation and reintegration of children who will leave the FARC-EP camps, in accordance with the principle of the best interest of the child, and ensuring their treatment as victims. The final peace agreement of 24 August recalled the primacy of child rights, in accordance with the Constitution of Colombia. It is therefore important to ensure the restoration of these rights without delay to guarantee the children can experience a childhood and adolescence in peace.

Children leaving the FARC-EP camps will receive care and services to respond to their specific needs to ensure their successful reintegration, with the support of the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and partners.

This process provides unique momentum for building a strong and durable peace that will leave no one behind. “By saying ’yes’ to peace, the Government and the FARC-EP, supported by the United Nations and civil society, are signaling a desire to work together towards a common objective and build a better future for these children and for the country as a whole,” Leila Zerrougui stated. In accordance with the wishes expressed by the parties, she stands ready to support, accompany and oversee the implementation of the agreement, and looks forward to the separation of the first group of children on Saturday.

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