© UNICEF/HQ04-0817/DeCesare

A former child soldier in a rehabilitation home in Colombia. She joined a guerrilla group at age 12 and then escaped a year later. “I didn’t want to stay but they kill you if you desert,” she said.


As a consequence of more than four decades of armed violence, the complex humanitarian situation that prevails in Colombia has a devastating impact on children and women. According to official records, 1,976,970 persons have been displaced over the past 10 years, of which 2 per cent are indigenous people and 5.5 per cent Afro-descendants (Sole Registry of the Displaced Population, February 2007). The presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) represents a grave and growing problem in Colombia. Official government statistics show a cumulative total of 6,426 victims between 1990 and 1 October 2007, of which 635 were children and 199 women. Colombia’s geographic and climatic conditions make it especially vulnerable to natural disasters. In the first eight months of 2007, 692,000 persons have been affected by flooding, landslides or storms with heavy winds.


Assisting and protecting children affected by internal displacement and other complex emergencies: UNICEF will support 25,000 displaced persons, mainly children and women, forcibly displaced or confined as a result of the violence generated by illegal armed groups, providing temporary water and basic sanitation systems, civil birth registration documents, school kits, psychosocial care for children and information on how to claim rights and access assistance.

Emergency assistance: In coordination with the other UN agencies in Colombia, UNICEF will support 60,000 persons affected by natural disasters, mainly women and children, distributing school kits, providing psychosocial care and rehabilitating schools and water and basic sanitation systems.

Humanitarian mine action: UNICEF will support a total of 75,000 persons living in areas where there is a high risk of landmine/UXO related accidents; share information among 12,000 families on the dangers of landmines/UXO and the adoption of safe behavioural practices; support 8 departmental and 30 municipal Integral Mine Action Plans; provide information to 45 per cent of all new civilian landmine/UXO survivors on how to access health care and claim rights.

Prevention of child recruitment and protection of children demobilized from armed groups: UNICEF will implement/support actions to prevent the recruitment into illegal armed groups of 70,000 children; and provide national institutions with technical assistance in order to broaden the coverage of national programmes aiming at the family and community reintegration of adolescents demobilized from illegal armed groups.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2008
Sector US$
Assisting and protecting children affected by internal displacement  and other complex emergencies 1,000,000
Emergency assistance 2,500,000
Humanitarian mine action 750,000
Prevention of child recruitment and protection of children demobilized from armed groups 1,000,000
Total* 5,250,000

* 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.