The internal armed conflict in Colombia has had severe impacts on all sectors of the Colombian population. Women and children, however, are disproportionably affected by the conflict. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization on American States notes that women “are in a difficult situation in Colombia, as they suffer particularly serious effects of the violence that affects the entire country" and considers that "violence against women in Colombia persists and is worsening.” In addition, women and children represent the majority of Colombia’s nearly 4 million internally displaced peoples
Like women, children – under the age of 18, as understood by international accords – also face undeserved repercussions of the ongoing armed conflict. The illegal armed actors regularly violate the international law that seeks to protect children from violence. Children have become a causality of the conflict, facing many forms of violence: murder, kidnapping, antipersonnel landmine injury, abuse, human trafficking, and forced recruitment by the armed actors. This violence restricts Colombian children’s access to education and healthcare and plants seeds of conflict in the generation to come.
Afro-Colombian children in the Urabá region gather around the gravesite of a fellow community member. The violence that forced communities to flee, left many dead. Upon return to their land, communities often clear brush from the cemeteries and build new grave markers to honor the dead.
The U.S. Office on Colombia is an independent non-profit organization, not affiliated with any political party, that seeks to educate U.S. policymakers, the media and the U.S. public about the impact of U.S. policy on Colombia.