Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Section A. Special protection
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides:
IHL rules favour especially the civilian population so that assistance and protection, which the parties to the conflict shall bring, are given in priority to the most vulnerable persons or groups of persons, who are: children, …
The manual further states, with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “Care and aid shall be provided to children.”
In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Minors are the subject of different levels of especial protection under international humanitarian law which are relevant in situations of internal armed conflict such as the one in Colombia; thus (i) minors are protected as part of the civilian population, (ii) in addition they receive special protection due to their status as especially vulnerable members of the civilian population.
In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Taking into account … the development of customary international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflicts, the Constitutional Court notes that the fundamental guarantees stemming from the principle of humanity, some of which have attained ius cogens
status, … [include] the obligation to protect the special rights of children affected by armed conflict.
[footnote in original omitted]
In a statement before the Human Rights Committee in 1988, the representative of Colombia reported that the child vaccination campaigns in Colombia had served as a model in other States, including El Salvador, where hostilities had been suspended in order to allow children to be vaccinated.