Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | September 24, 2013

Colombian Prosecutor says FARC will be charged for child recruitment.

Colombian Prosecutor Leonardo Cabana said FARC leaders will be charged for recruiting child soldiers even if a peace accord is reached and some kind of amnesty for other offenses is applied.

Since its founding nearly 50 years ago, the FARC have recruited about 13,000 minors.

Minors were recruited with promises of cash, or by beautiful girls who lured the men to join the FARC. In many areas controlled by the FARC, it was considered an honor and a social status to join. (See: Experts explain why children join armed groups.)

Twelve years old is the average age of recruitment into the FARC.

The prosecutor, Leonardo Cabana, was most affected by adults, who having been recruited as children, have no desire to pursue proper employment. Their family nucleus has been broken and they do not want to return to their hometowns.

Cabana warned that if the State does not develop policies to reintegrate young former FARC, they risk being re-recruited by another armed group. And sadly, the care provided at government-run foster homes and reintegration programs is poor, according to the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, a network of international non-government organizations.

But a thought to ponder: Many of the FARC leaders who would be legally held responsible may have also been recruited as children. (See: FARC’s ten-year-old errand boy grows up to become its most cold-blooded.)

Related:

Education of former child soldiers is still a big hurdle.

Former teen combatants look to rebuild sense of family.

Reintegration of former combatants: not a peace initiative but a security program.

What “volunteering” for FARC really means.

Court ruled reparations to be paid for the unlawful recruitment of minors.


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