"En sus manos": Children's rights and protection post armed conflict: an opportunity for peacebuilding in Colombia
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
The impact of armed conflict on children’s rights and protection is not disputed in existing research. This thesis looks again at this issue in the context of the longstanding armed conflict in Colombia and the current transition to peace in the country in order to consider whether and how peacebuilding can give children agency and contribute to restoring their rights and protection post conflict, an area neglected in existing research. Using testimonies from children gathered by a questionnaire and events held in communities in two regions of Colombia badly affected by the conflict, this thesis seeks to place children’s voices about the impact of the conflict on them and their views about peace at the centre of the discussion.
Key findings are that as a result of their direct experiences of the conflict children have two main priorities for peace. The first is the need to re-establish positive, non-violent behaviours and relationships in their families and communities and the second is the need for protection and security from violence and crime. These findings are discussed using Lederach’s theories of reconciliation based peacebuilding (1997; 2005), an ecological framework for children’s protection and concepts of children’s resilience and rights.
It is concluded that states are responsible for providing for children’s rights and protection but there is a need to pay attention to the impact of protracted armed conflict on communities. Reconciliation based peacebuilding which restores the fabric of families and communities and addresses violence post conflict could enable protective mechanisms to be re-established for children and foster the development of children’s own resilience. Further, giving children agency within the peacebuilding process is important to re-establishing children’s future rights in a post conflict society and these factors combined to enhance the conditions for sustainable peace.
The thesis considers the implications of these conclusions for humanitarian and development organisations working with children during conflict or in peacebuilding and makes recommendations for all those with responsibilities in this area.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 93 p.
Child Protection, Peace building, armed conflict
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301145OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-301145DiVA: diva2:953724
Plan International, Colombia
Subject / course
International Humanitarian Action
Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action