Thematic areas: Humanitarian Norms – Landmine Ban – Forced Displacement – Child Protection – Gender – Humanitarian Access

After the signing of the Peace Agreement between the National Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) on November 24, 2016, the implementation of the agreement was left in the hands of the government of Iván Duque (2018 – 2022) and the Congress of the Republic. This process had different stages that, according to the Kroc Institute, (the Institute in charge of monitoring the peace process) have not advanced in its implementation. The absence of a continued process has increased the number of assassinations of social leaders and ex-combatants. On the other hand, the State’s obligation to reach the abandoned territories was not fulfilled as expected, generating a reoccupation of the territories by dissident groups of the FARC, the National Liberation Army (ELN), the Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), and other AGDAs that have taken control of these empty zones.

Colombia’s new president, Gustavo Petro, elected on 7 August 2022, has launched a new “Total Peace Plan” which aims to engage armed groups across Colombia. Despite the continued peace efforts, the scene remains confusing and crowded with the emergence of so many new armed groups vying for power. Because of the change in administration and national governments as well as the shifting scene for armed groups following the 2016 Peace Accords, there are more actors in need of IHL training. The recruitment of children and adolescents remains a common practice across armed groups in Colombia. Access to humanitarian assistance, killings of social leaders and human rights activists, and the use of anti-personnel mines are all additional concerns with the changing landscape in Colombia.

Furthermore, much of the international attention that has remained on Colombia is focused on the migration from neighboring Venezuela and less so on the continued armed conflict within Colombia.

Geneva Call’s activities in the country

IHL training in Colombia is profoundly important, as the emergence of new AGDAs, as well as the much hastier generational changes in the former armed groups, have led to an increase in attacks and operations affecting the population. On the other hand, the country is currently facing an increase in access barriers to humanitarian work, due to the lack of knowledge of humanitarian work, and of the guiding principles for assisting the civilian population in places with emergencies caused by catastrophes or the presence of armed groups.

Moreover, one additional challenge in Colombia is the penal code prohibiting access to armed groups. In response to this challenge, Geneva Call’s activities have necessarily relied on more indirect routes.

Strengthening the Community:

  • Educated journalists to enhance their accountability and reporting skills.
  • Provided training to educational institutions to use International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as a protection tool for children vulnerable to recruitment.
  • Strengthened self-governance within Indigenous communities to reduce the appeal of armed groups attempting to undermine community authorities.

Continued Advocacy:

  • Persisted in advocating for specific authorization to engage with armed groups within the country.
  • Initiated a dialogue with the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) to offer IHL training sessions to inmates who are members of AGDAs.
  • Advocated for government permits to authorize humanitarian engagement with armed groups in coordination with UN agencies and other international NGOs.

Information Dissemination:

  • Installed informational banners in various departments, including remote areas, to raise awareness about IHL and attempt to reach AGDAs.
  • Collaborated with the Colombia Campaign Against Mines for a social media campaign against mines.


Only an estimated 1.6 million of the 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance are able to be helped.

Training provided to 24 educational institutions to educate children and adolescents at risk.

More than 600 000 people engaged with a social media campaign to spread awareness on basic IHL rules.

3 different armed groups directly requested support in IHL and negotiation from Geneva Call through proxies.

Contact information:

Séverine Courtiol – COUNTRY DIRECTOR



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