Règle correspondante
Colombia
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, … 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 25.
The manual further states, with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “Care and aid shall be provided to children.” 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 74.
Colombia’s Code on Children and Adolescents (2006) states: “Protection Rights. Children and adolescents shall be protected against: … 6. Wars and internal armed conflicts.” 
Colombia, Code on Children and Adolescents, 2006, Article 20.
The Code also states:
For all purposes under this law, the right-holders are all persons under 18 years of age. Without prejudice to article 34 of the Civil Code, children are understood to be persons under 12 years of age, and adolescents to be persons between 12 and 18 years of age. 
Colombia, Code on Children and Adolescents, 2006, Article 3.
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. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, Judgment of 8 March 2005, § 4.5.4.2.1.
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. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 112.
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2009, in the Constitutional Case No. C-240/09, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court was called upon to decide on the constitutionality of Article 14 of the 1997 Law on Judicial Cooperation and Article 162 of the 2000 Penal Code, which concerned the recruitment of children and their forced participation in hostilities. Regarding the special protection afforded to children in an armed conflict, the Court stated:
3.1. Children as subjects of special constitutional protection and the principle of the best interests of the child
3.1.1. …
… [C]hildren and adolescents in our country have been considered as subjects of special constitutional protection (article 44 of the [1991] Constitution) owing to the weakness and defencelessness that result from their young age, vulnerability and dependence. Therefore, the State has the imperative duty to ensure their well-being. … [T]he constitutional rights granted to children in article 44 of the Constitution fully concern all persons under 18 years of age.
3.1.3. In view of the vulnerability of minors in an armed conflict, their status as victims requires that their fundamental rights are requested and decisions are made in their best interests. As indicated in judgment C-203 of 2005 … , “the participation of a minor in the armed conflict does not justify failing to apply the abovementioned [constitutional] 
Square brackets in original.
criteria”. …
4.1. Guarantees and prohibitions established in international human rights law (IHRL) regarding the recruitment and involvement of children in armed conflicts
4.1.1. …
… [T]hose States that have committed under international human rights law to protect minors have an obligation to prevent [violations] and to guarantee the rights of children and adolescents in various situations, including armed conflict. …
4.1.11. Therefore, … in the case of Colombia, the [1989] Convention on the Rights of the Child, the [2000] Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and the [1999] ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour … are international human rights instruments ratified by our country, which form part of domestic law and entail the obligation of States Parties to ensure the protection of minors in situations of armed conflict. Clearly, these instruments constitute part of the “constitutional block” …
4.2. Guarantees and prohibitions established in international humanitarian law (IHL) regarding the recruitment and participation of minors in armed conflicts
4.2.2. Children in … [armed] conflicts … are doubly protected under IHL: (i) as civilians affected by the hostilities and (ii) as subjects linked to them in the context of international and non-international armed conflicts, in accordance with article 77 of the [1977 Additional] Protocol I and article 4 of the [1977 Additional] Protocol II, respectively.
In the first case, judgment. C-172 of 2004 … recalled that the 1949 Geneva Convention IV (related to the protection of civilians in time of war) grants a singular protection to the child population as civilians who do not take part in hostilities (articles 14, 17, 23, 24, 38 and 50). 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-240/09, Judgment, 1 April 2009, §§ 3.1.1, 3.1.3, 4.1.1, 4.1.11 and 4.2.2.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]
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. 
Colombia, Statement before the Human Rights Committee, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SR.819, 14 July 1988, § 8.
In 2008, in its Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, the Ministry of National Defence of Colombia stated:
Attention to special groups
The important thing in any event is to ensure that these groups – … women and children, … –receive adequate attention and protection, for which purpose liaison officers will be appointed where they do not already exist, complaints and concerns will be heard, and mechanisms will be established to provide a prompt response. Women and children in particular enjoy special protection under IHL [footnote: 1977 First Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions: “Art. 76. Protection of women: 1. Women shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected in particular against rape, forced prostitution and any other form of indecent assault … ”; Art. 77. Protection of children: 1. Children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected against any form of indecent assault”] and this protection is reflected in the National Security Forces’ manuals, operational orders and ROE [Rules of Engagement]. 
Colombia, Ministry of National Defence, Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, January 2008, § 46.
The Ministry of National Defence also stated:
Child victims of violence
To deal with the problem of violence against children, the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces High Command have been implementing the following preventive strategies. In Circular 151758 of September 7th 2004 the Commander of the Armed Forces ordered army commanders to issue orders and instructions to the various levels of command regarding the implementation of and strict compliance with existing rules and provisions on the treatment and handling of children who have become detached from illegal armed organizations either on their own free will or because they have been captured. In particular the Commander noted the obligation to comply with and to ensure the implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution, the [1989] Convention on the Rights of the Child, the [2000] Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to the participation of children in armed conflicts, and [the 1977] Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Convention. 
Colombia, Ministry of National Defence, Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, January 2008, § 143.
In 2010, Colombia’s National Council for Social and Economic Policy approved the Policy for the Prevention of Recruitment and Use of Children and Adolescents by Organized Armed Groups Outside the Law and Organized Criminal Groups. The Policy states:
i. International Standards
The Colombian State has incorporated into its domestic legal order several international instruments for the protection of the rights of children and adolescents. Those instruments constitute part of the “Constitutional Block”, pursuant to article 93 of the 1991 Political Constitution. Table 1 includes the most relevant ones in chronological order. …
Table 1
International Standards
International Standard
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.
Approved by Law 171 of 1994. Entered into force on 15 February 1996.
Main Provisions
Common article 3 to the [Geneva] Conventions provides for the protection of civilians. Their [Additional] Protocols set out the special protection for children. In particular, Protocol II, in Article 4, sets out the fundamental guarantees, which include the protection of children. …
International Standard
Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, 1989.
Approved by Law 12 of 1991. Entered into force on 27 February 1991. Colombia made a reservation to paras. 2 and 3 of Article 38.
Main Provisions
Article 38 reiterates the commitment of States Parties to respect the rules of IHL. It recalls the obligation of States to … “take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict”. …
ii. National Standards
The 1991 Political Constitution enshrines the primacy of the rights of the child. It sets out the duty to fully protect them and the co-responsibility of the State, society and the family (articles 44 and 45) for their fulfilment and effectiveness. The most significant legal developments on this matter are presented, in chronological order, in Table 2. …
Table 2
Legal Developments
Legislative Standard
Law 418 of 1997 “Establishing Certain Instruments for the Achievement of Peaceful Coexistence and the Efficacy of Justice, and Enacting Other Provisions”.
The Law was extended and modified by Laws 548 of 1999, 782 of 2002 and 1106 of 2006.
Main Provisions and Regulations
Law 418, in its Title 1, Chapter 2, establishes a number of provisions for the protection of children under 18 years of age from the effects of the armed conflict. …
Legislative Standard
Law 1098 of 2006 “Enacting the Code on Children and Adolescents”.
Main Provisions and Regulations
Article 20 provides that children and adolescents shall be protected from war and internal armed conflict[.] 
Colombia, National Planning Department, National Council for Social and Economic Policy, Policy for the Prevention of Recruitment and Use of Children and Adolescents by Organized Armed Groups Outside the Law and Organized Criminal Groups, CONPES Document No. 3673, 19 July 2010, pp. 7–10 and 13–16.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]