For more than 50 years and under different logics, dynamics, modes of operation and trends, boys, girls and adolescents have been in the sights of the illegal armed actors to swell their ranks and strengthen the capacities of their organizations, not only in military actions, but also in the development of logistical support activities, tasks for the survival of the troops, information, messaging, drug transport or weapons, among others.
In the face of this scourge, national and international actors have worked for child protection, from different areas of work. All based on article 44 of the Political Constitution of Colombia, which states:
“The fundamental rights of children are: life, physical integrity, health and social security, balanced nutrition, their name and nationality, having a family and not being separated from it, care and love, education and culture, recreation and the free expression of their opinion. They will be protected against all forms of abandonment, physical or moral violence, kidnapping, sale, sexual abuse, labor or economic exploitation and risky jobs. They will also enjoy the other rights enshrined in the Constitution, in the laws and in the international treaties ratified by Colombia”.
Under this principle and taking into account that “The family, society and the State have the obligation to assist and protect the child to guarantee their harmonious and integral development and the full exercise of their rights. Any person can demand from the competent authority its compliance and the sanction of offenders. Children's rights take precedence over the rights of others." The Colombian Air Force has developed activities focused on mitigating the impact of forced recruitment of minors by illegal armed groups that commit crimes in the southwestern part of the country.
This year, the Comprehensive Action Department of the Air Combat Command No.7 (CACOM-7), has carried out and participated with specific actions in different municipalities and villages of the departments of Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño, in order to alert the community so that it knows how to prevent this scourge, which affects daily life, the possibilities of development and destroys the spaces for training and socialization of children and adolescents.
In this sense, it is essential to protect the child population and their environments so that they are not used during an armed conflict, that is, not to accept in any way the direct or indirect participation of minors in hostilities or in armed actions.
Through the operational synergy of CACOM-7, actions have been carried out that contribute to this Institutional Campaign, in which dynamic activities are carried out to strengthen human rights and national values in the most vulnerable areas of the country. These activities include: participation in public and private radio stations, aerial loudspeakers, launching of flyers, preventive talks in educational institutions, community action boards and spaces with the community, and the presentation of the program Así se va a las Estrellas, an initiative that seeks to get closer to the little ones through dynamics that teach them human rights and national values.
It is necessary to continue alerting the community about this crime in the context of the armed conflict and the importance of denouncing this fact that affects the free development of minors, especially in the geographical areas most affected by the influence of criminal structures.
The Military Forces through the Colombian Army, Navy and the Colombian Air Force will continue to carry out these activities, making their capacities available to confront this scourge, ensuring that children and adolescents are kept out of war and any dynamic of violence that violates their rights.
Source: press – Colombian Air Force