Education and Governmen

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					As we begin a new school year, many children around the world will be forfeiting the opportunity to
attend school due to their involvement in armed conflict. At the same time, most of these children begin
to fight for their right to an education. In Colombia, where clandestine wars have displaced about 1
million people since 1980, most of them women and children, the UNICEF program, "The children's
movement for peace," mobilized nearly 13 million people - children and adults -a commitment to work
actively for peace and social justice to end the violence in their country.

"The children's movement" spent almost the entire year of 1996 campaigning for peace in a national
mobilization effort, coordinated by UNICEF and Redepaz. In October of that year, nearly 3 million
children from 8-18 years old, came to vote on a special referendum, exercising their human right to have
their views heard on issues of importance to them, as articulated in "The agreement the rights of
children ", 1989.

True, the mobilization effort was a unique approach to education. However, a country taught more
about peace than any lecture could. reading.

For many years it was thought that peace education was to take place in a formal curriculum had to be a
teaching on a defined subject. UNICEF's experience increasingly supports the idea that the best way to
learn about peace is to be done - by practicing behavior that promotes peace. In Colombia, children do
not take any formal exams on what they had learned about peace, instead of pushed it to the top of the
public agenda, making peace, rather than violence, is the hope of the people.

In October 1997, a year after the children voted for peace, 10 million adults followed suit. In a special
ballot, voted "to build peace and social justice, to protect life, to reject all forms of violence and to
respect the 'Mandate of peace child.'" Using the ballot, Colombians claimed that atrocities were
completed and that international humanitarian law was respected.

However, Colombia still allows children to enlist with parental permission. And according to a recent
report of "human rights observers," the guerrillas, the paramilitaries and the security forces continue to
use children in combat zones. At the same time, peace education does make a difference - because the
next generation is taught and learned of the wiser ways of conflict resolution

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