One in five Colombian children suffers hunger, abuse or violence, newspaper El Tiempo reported on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, NGO Save the Children said at the UN Millenium Goals summit in New York that more than 500,000 children in Colombia suffer chronical malnutricion. The NGO bases its statement on research done by the Universidad de los Andes in 2008.
Save the Children earlier concluded that Colombia’s violent conflict increases the risk for abuse, hunger and violence. In its report “Traces of conflict in early childhood,” the NGO concludes that 26.6% of displaced children under the age of five suffer malnutricion ando only 15% of displaced children under 5 have access to primary school.
Children of militants or demobilized fighters as well as child soldiers see their right to education, health and housing violated, the same report concludes.
According to Colombia’s Family Welfare institute, 500 children die of malnutricion each year. The same institute says that it received nearly 37,000 complaints on child abuse.
Save the Children’s Colombia coordinator Pete LaRaus called on President Juan Manuel Santos, also present in New York, to increase efforts to improve the situation of Colombian children. “We recognize the many advances regarding mortality rate and nutricion, but there is still a long road ahead and many challenges to meet,” El Tiempo quoted LaRaus.