Colombia

Children and youth must be kept safe during protest in Colombia

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Save the Children is deeply alarmed by the recent violence against civilians – including the deaths of children and adolescents – during ongoing protests throughout Colombia. The organisation urgently calls for the guaranteed respect for and protection of human rights, including the right to free association and protest. While acts of vandalism should be addressed individually within the confines of the law, Save the Children strongly condemns the use of force on civilians.

Maria Paula Martinez, Save the Children Colombia´s Executive Director, said:

"We are shocked to hear stories of children and adolescents who are caught up in the violence – or even killed. We’ve heard reports of at least two children who have died in the turmoil, including a 9 year old, and that’s horrific. It is not acceptable that taking part in protests or even being close to protests means putting your life on the line.

"In moments of crisis, we must ensure the protection of the lives of adolescents and young protesters throughout Colombia. Coupled with their right to protest is the responsibility of authorities not to use excessive force against them. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have died and have disappeared in recent days."

Save the Children joins national and international organisations and other entities in the call against the militarisation of cities as a response to the current situation of social unrest.

As a humanitarian organisation, Save the Children reaffirms its commitment to the protection and respect of human rights. It is committed to providing a safe and peaceful environment for children, adolescents and their families, especially the most marginalised.

Save the Children also reiterates the necessity of safe access for non-governmental organisations to support the most vulnerable communities – including migrants, victims of the conflict, and those living in extreme poverty.

For more information please contact:

Emily Wight; Emily.wight@savethechildren.org;

Out-of-hours (GMT) and weekend: Media@savethechildren.org.uk / +44 7831 650 409 www.savethechildren.net