Building Trust for Truth-Telling Among Former Child Soldiers: Animation for Inclusion and Peacebuilding in Colombia

Credit: Mat Charles. Former child combatants at the playground at Benposta, a refuge for child survivors of conflict and a project partner.

 

Building Trust for Truth-Telling is a Changing the Story Affiliated Project.

Building Trust for Truth-Telling is an arts-based project, which facilitates the inclusion of former child soldiers in Colombia, and guarantees the representation of their voices in the country’s official narrative of the civil war. It is a collaboration between the University of Leeds, El Rosario University in Bogotá, The Colombian Truth Commission, grassroots civil society organisations, and artists from the UK and Colombia.

The Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition in Colombia was created as part of the 2016 historic peace deal between the Colombian government and leftist FARC rebels. Its mission is to clarify major human rights violations that occurred during the armed conflict, as well to provide a general explanation of the conflict as a whole.

Former child soldiers are susceptible to PTSD, depression and can often find it difficult to establish social bonds and speak about their experiences. Ex-combatants can also display high levels of distrust in the state and its institutions. Our project is therefore intended to build trust and foster the inclusion of these marginalised voices through creative methods, in particular animation.

The aim of the project is to guarantee the inclusion of former child soldiers in the Commission’s final report on the civil war, as well as to provide peace-building tools based on these experiences to incentivise a wider audience to engage and empathise, and promote the consolidation of reconciliation in the country. The animation will also be used as the basis for workshops around Colombia in which marginalised communities will be invited to formulate concrete recommendations for the non-repetition of conflict in Colombia, also to be submitted to the Commission

The project will give special attention to “Operation Berlin.” In 2000, the Colombian army launched an attack against the Arturo Ruiz column of the FARC outside the town of Tibú in the north east of the country. More than 70 child combatants were killed in the attack, but the facts about what happened remain unclear, and the army has been accused of covering up the atrocity.

Project Location

Static google map

Core Project Partners

Universidad del Rosario
The Colombian Truth Commission
Benposta Nación de Muchachas