More than 250,000 children have had their lives disrupted Colombia thanks to the ongoing conflict there in the three years since peace talks began, according to UNICEF.

The organisation said that of that figure, 230,000 have been displaced from their homes while an estimated 1,000 children were used or recruited by non-state armed groups. At least 75 children have been killed over the period and another 180 injured.

But the report - Childhood in the Time of War: Will the children of Colombia know peace at last? - also shows that the situation on the ground has improved for children since the peace talks began with the number killed or injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance over that period halved (still almost 130) and the number of displaced children dropping by 40 per cent.

The report - which also shows that more than 43,500 children have been killed since the conflict broke out in 1985 - was released last Friday, just days before a deadline comes due to reach a final deal between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC- EP).

Roberto De Bernardi, UNICEF's Representative in Colombia, wrote in the report that no-one is under any "illusion" that the agreement is a "magic wand that will end all Colombia's ills and bring peace stability overnight.

Speaking at the launch of the report, he said that even should the peace agreement be signed tomorrow, "children will continue to be at risk of all kinds of violations including recruitment, landmines and sexual exploitation". He said unless children receive the material and psychological assistance they need, "the prospects of long-lasting peace will remain elusive".

UNICEF is urging all parties to the conflict to put the childrens' interests first and called for children associated with armed group to be seen as victims "first and foremost" and reunited with their families and offered support to reintegrate into society. They have called for every child below the age of 18 to be released from armed groups and noted that unless conflict-affected children are given better opportunities, joining other non-state armed groups will be their only hope to survive.