The United Nations is concerned about child recruiting and criminal activity associated with armed groups that emerged after the demobilization of paramilitaries between 2003 and 2006, reported Spanish press agency EFE Friday.
According to the UN, demobilized paramilitary groups are still involved with criminal activity. In some cases, these groups have a structure military chain of command and are capable of controlling territories and carrying out military-type operations.
“This is a troubling situation. We are monitoring the situation,” said UN representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy.
According to the latest annual report from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, armed groups like the Aguilas Negras, the neo-paramilitary group ERPAC, Los Rastrojos, Los Paisas y Los Urabeños “continued to recruit and use children” in 2010.
These groups emerged after the demobilization of right-wing Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). According to the report, they do not share “a motivation, structure or common modus operandi.” Some of them have demonstrated their ability to adapt and, sometimes, to work together.
More than 31,000 AUC paramilitaries were demobilized between 2003 and 2006 after negotiations with the government of President Alvaro Uribe. Humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) have condemned the atrocities committed by the groups “heirs” of the demobilized paramilitaries.