Facing an April 1 deadline, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have released the first group of children who had been conscripted to fight as soldiers, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced on Saturday.
The ICRC reported that “various boys and girls” were in transit from FARC disarmament zones to a center run by the international children’s agency UNICEF. Neither the ICRC nor FARC would say how many children the group had released, but local media sources reported that it was about seven.
“This first release of 2017 represents a significant step for solidifying that to which the parties had agreed,” said Christoph Harnisch, the chief of the ICRC’s regional delegation, adding that the children would be evaluated medically. Harnisch said the ICRC would “continue facilitating operations similar to the ones that will take place in the next weeks.”
FARC’s forced conscription of children had proved one of the thorniest …