Some 86% of forensic examinations associated with sex crimes in Colombia are carried out on minors, according to UNICEF.
In the report about the situation of Colombia’s children in 2014, the organization highlighted gender-based violence, particularly focusing upon sexual abuse against minors, which “continues constituting a critical threat in the country, although no concrete figures exist about the topic,” stated UNICEF.
The attacks against minors persist in the context of Colombia’s armed conflict as they do in wider society, according to Viviana Limpias, UNICEF representative in Colombia. Within the situation of war, impunity for these crimes can reach a staggering 98%, said Limpias.
Independent studies estimate that between 2008 and 2012, there were 48,915 recorded cases of sexual violence against children of under 18 years.
41,313 of these were attacks against girls, with the remaining 7,602 against boys. The presumed perpetrators belong to armed groups, stated the UNICEF representative.
Official government statistics reveal that at least 220,000 children have died and more than five million have been displaced as a result of the armed conflict that has been ongoing for more than half a century on Colombian soil.
UNICEF explained how children have also been affected by “landmines, unexploded ammunition and improvised explosive devices; recruitment by illegal armed groups; internal displacement and the deprivation of humanitarian assistance.”
In terms of force recruitment, the agency noted that between 1999 and 2013, the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) “tended to 5,417 minors and adolescents disconnected from illegal armed groups (28% girls and 72% boys).”
Although UNICEF highlighted advances in Colombia’s protection of children compared to the past, they concluded that the inequality between regions in terms of poverty continues to negatively impact their well-being.