EL TIEMPO, March 24, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

There is concern in Chocó because young people are committing suicide to avoid being recruited by the illegal armed groups, such as the “Clan del Golfo” and the ELN.

In fact, according to complaints made in recent days, at least 20 young people have taken their own lives this year, and a similar number have tried to do it.

And a significant number of these cases, according to what human rights defenders are saying, are because they want to avoid being recruited by the illegal groups.

Riosucio, Carmen del Darién, Unguía, and Acandí are the municipalities where this problem has been seen.

“The situation in the Chocó has been very concerning for years. Many of our young people of different ethnic groups have killed themselves because of all the worries that they have been experiencing, because of conflicts, and because of combat between the armed groups,” said Orlando Moya, the Chief Counsellor for the Wounaan organization in Chocó.

The leaders in the region insist that, while there are indeed many Colombian government programs focused on the prevention of recruitment of children and young people, the programs are not very effective and they are not reaching the communities, especially the very remote communities. They even say that these programs are just furnished in the principal cities of our country.

Because of that, they are calling for more government presence, to avoid having minor children keep on entering the illegal groups; but meanwhile, some of them in the communities are seeking to take their own lives.

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