[20nov] Universal Children´s Day: the right to live in Peace

Thousands of children and youth are directly recruited in armed groups and in other tasks around the framework of war. For any human being to be forced to do atrocious actions, suffer illness, physical extenuation, sexual violence, wounds, tortures and face extreme situations with life risk is an inhuman situation, more so, when talking about children and youth.



In Colombia´s armed conflict, it is estimated that one out of four fighters is under 18. " In October 2008,The Constitutional Court of Colombia reported that illegal armed groups were recruiting children in Colombia and the real magnitude of these recruitments was still unknown. The number of children that participate in armed groups in Colombia goes from 8.000, according to the Ministry of Defense to 11.000, according to non government sources. [...].A study carried out by the Colombian Citizen Defense and UNICEF showed that the average age of recruitment had gone down from 13,8 years to 12,8 in 2006.

As a consequence, many Colombian citizens have sought refuge in neighbouring countries in fear that their children may be recruited or used for fighting in the Colombian war. However, crossing the border does not guarantee safety. Colombia´s internal instability has spread to these neighboring countries where there have also been child recruitments for fighting.

This affects politically, socially, economically and culturally all neighbouring countries especially Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama and Brazil where hundreds of refugees, together with their new neighbours, continue to live the general violence that led to their original displacement. The continuing of this violence makes development in these territories difficult, on one hand because money is allocated for war and therefore not invested in other things of vital importance such as health or education and also because in fear of recruitment, many parents prevent their children from going to school and they are therefore deprived of education and grow under the threat and lifestyle of violence.

On Universal Children´s Day and together with the Jesuit Refugee Service of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Spanish Coalition to End the Use of Child Soldiers, we invite you to remember thousands of children and youth who are daily victims of this crime in Colombia and its borders. A crime we must visualize in the international community to demand protection, guarantee and compliance of the rights of these people, who because of their young age, are especially vulnerable.


 "D Day" November 20: Building intercultural bridges

Entreculturas thinks that education is most important in violent contexts. In some countries to be at school means not to be fighting. We have elaborated education materials so that in those occasions, the classrooms may become spaces of peace, respect, understanding...spaces where children accustomed to violence and hate may know another dimension of life and work for it.

In the collection "D Days", the didactic proposal for this November 20 is focused on intercultural issues, understood as a positive diversity so that children may understand that in life there are different opinions, different religions and different nationalities without being one better over the pother one and being worthy of the same respect. This is the first of the three themes of the CITY PLANET Campaign promoted by Entreculturas.

For this purpose the didactic proposal uses the rainbow to represent this diversity, many colours and only one figure and at the same time as the symbol of the bridge that is built through the respect of two different realities.

This material is directed both for classroom work and work with parents and children at home.