Colombia

Colombia: DDR and Child soldier issues: A monthly review, January 2017

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USAID supports the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Colombia through the Recruitment Prevention and Reintegration (RPR) Program. The RPR Program provides institutional strengthening for the Government of Colombia (GOC) to support legal, social and economic reintegration services to demobilized adults and disengaged children, as well as to prevent new recruitment.

The GOC supports demobilized adults through its Colombian Reintegration Agency (ACR). The DDR initiatives of the ACR aim to fulfill the following objectives: 1) Create conditions for demobilized ex-combatants to become independent citizens, 2) Strengthen socio-economic conditions in receptor communities, and 3) Promote reconciliation.

Children and adolescents who disengage from illegal armed groups, recognized as victims, receive special attention through programs and policies led by the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) through its Specialized Assistance Program, which aims to reestablish and guarantee rights with special emphasis on protection, education and health.

KEY DEVELOPMENTS

Final march of FARC guerrillas to transitional zones commences

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, 36 land- and river-based operations were planned to mobilize and move to transitional zones 4,394 members of the FARC-EP at the end of the month.

Between January 28th and 29th, 1,037 guerrillas were transferred to transitional zones, with some 600 scheduled to move on Monday the 30th, and 2,541 more the next day. In all, the guerrillas will gather in 26 different zones and points throughout the country, located in 25 municipalities across 14 departments, where they will begin the process of laying down their arms.

United Nations announces delays in early deadlines for FARC-EP laying down of arms

United Nations Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, announced on January 11th that the first two deadlines in the process for laying down arms will not be met: the January 1st date for FARC-EP concentration in transitional zones, and the January 30th deadline for the destruction of all unstable munitions. The UN does, however, hope for the process to begin in the coming weeks. Arnault cites delays related to the plebiscite loss on October 2nd and the geographic remoteness of the transitional zones as major contributing factors for the setbacks. The GOC and UN maintain that they will do everything possible to still complete the entire disarming process by the originally planned June date. In response to these delays, General Javier Flórez, commander of the Transition Strategic Command unit, said that when the FARC-EP are finally able to hand over their weapons, they will be permitted to stay within the transitional zones until they complete their reincorporation process as originally planned – i.e., the camps will remain operational longer than scheduled. On Wednesday, January 18th, High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo announced that all FARC-EP members will be in their 36 designated transitional zones by January 31st, after delays due to logistical and other issues (malaria concerns, presence of coca crops) slowed the process originally scheduled to occur in December of last year.

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