Initiative Against Recruitment of Children in Armed Conflict
This Friday, February 12, Colombia celebrates the “Día de la Mano Roja” (Day of the Red Hand), commemorating the entry into force of theOptional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. It is with this in mind, private organizations, public agencies and citizens take to the streets in Bogota against this human rights violation.
International NGOs have estimated approximately 10,000 children have been victims of use or recruitment at least one armed group. Although the figures are only an estimate, the Insituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF or Family Welfare Insitute of Colombia) has already provided disengagement (desvinculación) attention to approximately 6 thousand children, between October 1999 and December 2015; 29% of which are girls.
According to the same document, 60% of these children were part of the FARC guerilla group, 18% from the paramilitary Autodefensas group, 16% from the ELN guerilla group and 3% BACRIM, (an acronym for criminal bands/gangs that includes several other groups such as the Urabeños and the COMBAS).
In Bogotá, the NGO War-Torn will be holding an event in the main downtown plaza, Plaza de Bolivar, from 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. with a symbolic representation of participation by the general public with live urban (graffiti) artists.
#YoCuento (or ICount), as the event is called, was designed to project a real-time, real-life reflection of the national perception regarding reintegration of former child combattants into society, and reestablishing of their rights.
“The life-sized/child-sized silhouettes will serve as live canvases, which will begin to take on their color according to public perception of our theme. What we mean is, if your perception of reintegration of former active combatants, even those under the age of 18, is negative, the artist will begin painting in dark or dim colors. However, if the next person who interact with the artist sees the issue in a positive light, the colors in the art piece will take a warmer or brighter tone.” Explains War-Torn CEO and Founder, Laura Guaqueta.
War-Torn (referring to a focus regarding countries that have been devastated by war), is a Non-Profit USA-Based NGO, that aims to help communities that have passed though a period of conflict or war. For #YoCuento, the NGO counts with the support of USAID Colombia, the International Organization of Migrants (OIM) Colombia, AgenciaPANDI and Fund. La Familia Ayara.
You can follow their initiatives via #YoCuento on social media
If you are interested in contacting the organization, or want to know more about the project, you can reach them at contact@War-Torn.org /