Humanitarian Action Report 2007 - Homepage

TACRO COLOMBIA

CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN

The continuing armed conflict between the Government and militias and the high level of violence are exerting a tremendous impact on society and childhood and are posing serious obstacles to humanitarian operations. Assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) is limited in several zones, especially those with difficult access due to lack of roads, military blockades or other security conditions. In 2005, 64.2 per cent of the population were living in poverty and 31 per cent in extreme poverty. Average school absenteeism of displaced children was 4.2 per cent, almost double the national average of 2.7 per cent. Child malnutrition amongst IDPs stands at 23 per cent, compared to the national average of 12 per cent.

Some 5,000 to 6,000 children remain enrolled in non-State armed entities and a similar number participates in urban militias. Only some 400 children have been handed over in the frame of collective demobilizations. The re-groupment of demobilized children in criminal groups, the surge of new illegal armed actors and the strengthening of existing ones in areas evacuated by demobilized groups remain of serious concern. There has been an alarming increase in the number of incidents involving mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).

PLANNED HUMANITARIAN ACTION FOR 2007

Protection of child soldiers and prevention of recruitment: UNICEF will support government initiatives to promote a culture of peace and give children and adolescents alternatives for leisure; continue/expand existing projects to prevent recruitment into non-State armed entities; support reintegration of, and provide subsidies to, 200 children/adolescents demobilized from irregular armed groups; provide technical support to the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) to assist 1,000 demobilized children/adolescents; contribute technical assistance for Colombia’s comprehensive legislative reform; strengthen public policies on humanitarian action and child protection; with the Ministry of Communications develop/strengthen Adolescents Network Organizations through radio stations and create community radio modules to train adolescents on child rights and prevention of child recruitment; support adolescents’ initiatives; publish and disseminate a Study conducted by the Ombudsman’s Office on children formerly associated with armed groups.

Humanitarian action for internally displaced children: UNICEF will strengthen psychosocial assistance for 15,800 children affected by displacement and armed conflict; train teachers and support groups through the Return to Happiness project in 45 municipalities; implement primary health care programmes at community level; together with WFP, distribute food rations to 1,300 internally displaced children and 130 pregnant women; support families and community health workers to monitor nutritional status; train 150 adolescents/young mothers on environmental sanitation through the Happy Homes project; promote hygiene education and awareness programmes in 30 schools and 60 communities; provide technical and financial assistance for sanitation systems in temporary locations; support re-establishment and improved control of water systems that are damaged or face increased demand; promote displaced children’s access to school and train/support teachers.

Humanitarian mine action: Benefiting 60,000 people, UNICEF will support national authorities, NGO partners and civil society to develop a comprehensive, sustainable and decentralized mine action programme in support of the National Mine Action Plan. Activities will include: strengthen local capacity to plan/implement mine action programmes at national, departmental and municipal levels; provide training and tools to local institutions for mine/UXO threats; design/develop a community-based mine-risk education strategy to reduce mine/UXO accidents; promote integral care for victims by empowering survivors to claim their rights and to access health care and humanitarian assistance; support activities in 31 departments, with special focus on 64 municipalities identified in the National Landmines Observatory needs assessment.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2007

Thematic areas of work – humanitarian action

US$

Protection of child soldiers and prevention of recruitment

3,800,000

Humanitarian action for internally displaced children

600,000

Humanitarian mine action

1,100,000

Total*

5,500,000

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.