The guerillas, the private paramilitary forces
and the army all teach children how to use weapons.
least 6,000 children participate in the war as child soldiers.
• Every sixth child soldier has killed someone. As many have
• Six of ten have seen people killed and 8 of 10 have seen dead
The children of Colombia voted for this:
• Don't let anyone under
18 become a soldier
• Don't kill anyone
• Don't kidnap anyone
• Don't let anyone disappear
• Don't attack civilians and force them to run away
• Don't involve civilians in the war
is the only country in Latin America with land mines. And they are everywhere.
They can explode when one steps on them. They can look like radios or
sweets and explode when one touches them.
Sometimes mines are placed under dead bodies or wounded
people so that when one tries to help them or take care of the bodies,
Other mines are built to fly one half meter into the
air before they explode, so that an entire leg is destroyed. Mines have
been used by all fighting groups; the country's army, the guerillas
and the paramilitaries.
No one knows how many land mines lie hidden in Colombia
- there may be over 80,000 - or exactly where they are. But in many
war-torn areas it is extremely dangerous for children to walk to school
and to play in fields. The road to and the land around schools can be full
boy relates: "I was nine when it happened.
I worked with Papa in the fields. We had just cut down a vine to weave
a basket when my friend stepped on a mine. He died and the mine opened
my stomach. My papa wrapped a towel around my stomach. I must have been
unconscious because I have no memory of that. He told me about it at
the hospital after I had had surgery."
Jorge fights for peace
TEXT & FOTO: ERLING SÖDERSTRÖM