Chapter 2: Challenges for the protection of child victims of recruitment and use in an era of complex armed conflicts: the Colombian case
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In the last two decades, the dynamics of the organization and operation of armed groups in non-international armed conflicts have changed dramatically. These developments have implications for the application of international standards regarding the recruitment and use of children by armed groups. This chapter analyses these implications in the context of Colombia, which has seen the rise of criminal bands – or ‘BACRIM’ – following the demobilization of paramilitary groups. The chapter begins by discussing the generally shifting nature of armed conflicts and their impact upon children. It then sets out the international legal framework applicable to child recruitment and identifies the main gaps in the application of these legal standards to new conflict dynamics targeting children. This chapter further examines steps taken by the Colombian government to address the situation of child victims of BACRIM, in particular pertaining to the reintegration of children associated with these groups. The chapter exhorts additional legal and political measures to address the situation of child victims of BACRIM in light of the recent peace agreement between the government and the FARC-EP.

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