A Colombian transitional justice court (JEP) rule that FARC rebels recruited more than 18,000 children into their ranks between 1996 and 2016.
“A provisional estimate, which could be even greater, of 18,667 boys and girls used in the conflict by the FARC is, without a single doubt, one of the most terrible acts that could have happened during the conflict,” said JEP President Eduardo Cifuentes.
The estimate published by the JEP was sourced from 31 databases submitted by government investigators, human rights groups, and relatives of children who were recruited into FARC.
JEP’s estimate topped the findings of Colombia’s Attorney General which only had data on 11,500 children in FARC last 2016.
Former FARC commander Rodrigo Londoño denied that they were recruiting fighters under 15 and that 15, 16, and 17 year-olds voluntarily joined for protection or to escape poverty.
Under Colombian law, adults are defined as individuals 18 and over but some rural communities reportedly considered 15-year-olds as adults already.
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