Colombian children leave rebel camps in peace move
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. –