Colom­bian chil­dren leave rebel camps in peace move

The Myanmar Times - - World -

EIGHT youths left FARC rebel camps in Colom­bia as the in­sur­gents be­gan re­lo­cat­ing chil­dren and teenagers as part of a peace agree­ment, the Red Cross said.

The govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Juan Manuel San­tos and the Marx­ist guer­ril­las of the Revo­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia (FARC), the coun­try’s largest rebel group, con­cluded a fi­nal peace ac­cord last month to end a 52-year war.

The hard-fought agree­ment took nearly four years of ne­go­ti­a­tions in Cuba.

As part of the agree­ment, both sides an­nounced on Septem­ber 6 the exit and tran­si­tion plans for mi­nors in FARC camps.

It calls for the chil­dren to un­dergo pre­lim­i­nary health ex­am­i­na­tion and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion by the Red Cross and their trans­fer to a re­cep­tion team from the UN Chil­dren’s Fund (UNICEF).

“ICRC med­i­cal per­son­nel who are part of the hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sion ver­i­fied that the mi­nors were healthy enough to be trans­ferred.”

Without giv­ing spe­cific de­tails about the chil­dren or where the trans­fer took place, the or­gan­i­sa­tion said that “boys, girls and ado­les­cents” be­gan to be moved to a tem­po­rary re­cep­tion area, where a UNICEF team would be­gin the process of in­te­grat­ing them into Colom­bian so­ci­ety.

In the past 14 years, about 4500 mi­nors from rebel groups have been de­mo­bilised, with 65 per­cent of them be­long­ing to the FARC, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data.

The con­flict with the FARC, which has drawn in var­i­ous left­wing and right-wing rebel groups as well as crim­i­nal gangs over the decades, has killed 260,000 peo­ple and left 45,000 miss­ing. –

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