Conscientious Objection in Colombia
Organizations sign letter to Colombian Defense Minister demanding that conscientious objectors rights be respected
97 organizations, churches and academics from Europe and the United States, including Nobel Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, signed a letter to Colombian Defense Minister Juan Pinzón, expressing their deep concerns about the human rights of Colombian youth who not only are recruited by illegal armed groups but also victims of illegal and irregular recruitment practices carried out by the Colombian military. The letter urges the Colombian armed forces to adopt practices throughout the Colombian military that will respect conscientious objectors, put an end to the illegal practice of street round ups (“batidas”), and adopt other recruitment protocols that strictly follow the law.
Rights for Conscientious Objectors Now!
Please send an email to the Ministry of Defense in Colombia, expressing your concern about the illegal street round-ups which continue to take place throughout Colombia. Take action here!
We also acompany several groups of conscientious objectors in Colombia who are currently working to have this fundamental right recognized in Colombia. See interviews with some of these conscientious objectors below in the video section.
FOR is currently supporting an international campaign in support of Colombian conscientious objectors along with swedish organization CIVIS and the Colombian Colective Action of Conscientious Objectors (ACOOC). Through virtual tools we hope to inform and raise awarness about conscientious objection and the militarization of Colombian society largely carried out through mandatory military service. With this in mind, the Colombian Colective Action of Conscientious Objectors (ACOOC) is currently on six week speaking tour through six european countries.
- Find out more about conscientious objection and the irregularities and illegalities in the process of recruitment for compulsory military service
- Read ACOOC’s field diary form their tour through Europe (translated from Spanish)
- Buy a t-shirt!
- On CIVIS’s website, until May 15th - the International Day on conscientious objection - you will find frecuently updates about conscientious objection like interviews, videos and other material.
- Watch the videos or read the ‘More Information’ section on this webpage.
Daniel Serna Henao is one of four conscientious objectors to be recognized by a court in Medellín, Colombia. Here, he tells his story. To see other FOR videos visit our vimeo site.
José Luis Peña Rueda is a conscientious objector from Bogota, Colombia. He was illegally taken by the Colombian military to fulfill his mandatory military service. Here, he tells his story…
In 2011, in their annual human rights report for 2010, the United Nations High Comission on Human Rights (UNHCR) hilighted for the first time the gravity of the irregular and illegal recrutment practices used by the Colombian military. The UNCHR demanded that the Colombian government put an end to these practices as soon as possible. See the report.
In their 2010 report, the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed their worry for the lack of regulation of mandatory military service. Particularly, they mentioned the practice of “batidas”, which ocur when soldiers gather youth in the street against their will to incorporate them into the ranks of the military. See the report (en español)
The “batidas” have been named a form of arbitrary detention by the United Nations Arbitrary Detention Working Group in 2008. Moreover, in many areas of Colombia, the situation of social inequality forces lower class youth to enter the mlitary for lack of economic alternatives. See the declaration.
In 2010 the Colombian Supreme Court produced a ruling, which for the first time in the history of Colombia recognized concientious objection as a fundamental right. Read the ruling.