PSPD People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
[Open Letter] Columbia, Recognize the Conscientious Objection to Military Service
- 2019.05.15 (17:28:28)
Columbia, Recognize the conscientious objection to military service
LETTER TO PRESIDENT IVAN DUQUE, COLOMBIA
We, civic groups in South Korea - Korea Anabaptist Center, PSPD(People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy), PEACEMOMO, WorldWithoutWar-stand in solidarity with conscientious objectors in Colombia, who refuse to be
conscripted and bear arms despite various obstacles they face.
We would like to welcome that the mobilization of conscientious objection and antimilitarist organizations for more than 20 years has achieved important changes that can be seen in constitutional jurisprudence, and in some debates and laws issued by the Colombian parliament. Although the ideal conditions for the respect and guarantee of the right to Conscientious Objection don’t exist yet, this right has become a reality that young men in the country can pursue.
According to the ACOOC (Colombian Collective Action of Conscientious Objectors) report published in 2018, the Law 1861, which the Recruitment, Reserve Control and Mobilization Service is regulated has some achievements.
- The legal recognition of conscientious objection as grounds for exoneration from the compulsory military service.
- The exclusion of conscientious objectors from the reserves of the Military Forces as a guarantee of their rights at all times.
- The inclusion of a procedure for the definition of the military situation of conscientious objectors with the participation and intervention of delegates from the Public Ministry.
- The legal prohibition of the realization of arbitrary detentions for recruitment purposes, popularly known as “batidas”
- Inclusion of the obligation to speak about the right to conscientious objection to military service in educational establishments.
Despite those achievements, there are difficulties remained on the law in practice highlighted by ACOOC and the Korean civic groups urge the Colombia government to consider those concerns as below.
- There is no impartial, technical and legal instrument that guarantees neutrality in the decisions of the Interdisciplinary Commissions. This issue was not addressed in Regulatory Decree 977 of 2018.
- Territorial Interdisciplinary Commissions are not being carried out in all the cities. In some areas of the country they only issue administrative acts indicating whether the request is favorable or unfavorable. An example of this is the city of Cali.
- Human Rights Organizations report that delegates from the Public Ministry are not always invited, which is worrisome because this body has the task of ensuring the protection of the rights of conscientious objectors before the Commission.
- Applications are not being resolved within the legally established 15 days, there are processes that have been accompanied by JUSTAPAZ and ACOOC that have taken up to 6 months.
- The lack of greater disclosure of the right by educational entities, Public Ministry and Military Forces.
- The lack of awareness on the part of young conscientious objectors of administrative resources (replenishment and subsidy appeal), which may be filed if they deny their request in the first instance.
- The type of document certifying the definition of a military situation as conscientious objectors is not yet clear. It cannot continue being the military card, because by getting it young men becomes part of the reserves and the exclusion of objectors of this category is always part of the guarantees of protection of its right.
- The lack of definition of the times that each of the stages can last to resolve the military situation, since this gap has made possible the implementation of arbitrary detentions with invitation or "batidas by incitemenT". From this new modality, the young men are not being taken to the truck and recruited on the same day, but they are cited in the Military Districts for the next day or week. There they perform psychophysical exams and formalize the incorporation of young men.
Antimilitarism is not only a way of defending peace as a way to overcome confrontation and its structural causes, but it is also the way to ensure that the progress made in terms of the recognition and guarantee of the right to objection remain and be can expanded and increased in Colombia.
Korean civic groups are looking forward to these remained difficulties by will be resolved by the commitments of your government.
* Open letter [See / Download]