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This report was written by Sebastian Brett, senior researcher in the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch. Joanne Mariner, deputy director of the Americas Division, contributed research, wrote the chapter on girls, and edited the manuscript. Further assistance was provided by members of Human Rights Watch's Children's Rights Division, particularly Jo Becker and Michael Bochenek; by James Ross, senior legal advisor at Human Rights Watch; and by Deputy Program Director Joseph Saunders. Robin Kirk, senior researcher in the Americas Division, edited the final report. Anne Manuel, former deputy director of the Americas Division, provided editorial assistance. José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division, supervised the research, writing, and production of the report. Americas Division Associates Marijke Conklin and Jon Balcom produced the report. Ximena Casas transcribed hours of tape recordings and assisted with the editing of interviews and production.

Human Rights Watch thanks the Overbrook Foundation for its support of our work on Colombia. We would also like to thank the Oak Foundation and the Independence Foundation for their support of our children's rights work. The research, writing, production, and translation into Spanish of this report was made possible by the generous support of the Andean Region and Southern Cone Office of the Ford Foundation.

Juan Luis Guillen provided the Spanish translation of this report, also available through Human Rights Watch.

The staff of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute provided every assistance to Human Rights Watch in the research for this report, and granted us full access to their facilities. Finally, we thank all the former combatants who not only patiently shared their time and experiences with us, but took the trouble to put us at our ease.

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September 2003