Colombia

Mon
1
Aug
2016
New translation available
Submitted by hannah

Colombia is the only South American nation with an ongoing internal armed conflict where military service is obligatory, requiring all 18-year-old young men to serve for 1 to 2 years - with no option of an alternative civil service...

Wed
29
Jun

Five countries where child soldiers are still recruited

By Jared Ferrie, Irin News

Colombia’s largest guerrilla group has agreed to release all of its soldiers under age 15. It is a move welcomed by child rights groups but it also highlights the continued use of child soldiers in conflicts around the world.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) made the pledge during talks in Cuba aimed at ending its five-decade war against successive governments. The administration of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC now need to decide upon the terms under which the child soldiers will be reintegrated into civilian life.

Thu
19
May

This Former Colombian Child Soldier Was Forced to Kill Eight of His Friends

By Joe Parkin Daniels, Vice News

When Nicolás was 17 he was forced to kill eight of his friends.

"It hurt to kill them, obviously," Nicolás said, bowing his head as his voice started to tremble. "But an order is an order. I couldn't think about that."

Nicolás had been with Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, since he was 12. Some of his condemned brothers in arms were as young as 14. Their crimes included trying to desert, and falling asleep during lookout. One had ruined the camp's food. Burning rice is an executable offence in the jungle. Refusing to carry out the executions would have got Nicolás killed himself.

Nicolás is able to tell the tale because, a year later in April 2015, he deserted himself.

Mon
17
Aug

National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors (ANOOC) Statement

August 2015

In a country that has gone through many stages of armed conflict throughout its history, where the military has been permeating the fine threads of social relations, various women and men have decided to move forward in the belief that war is not an engine of history and development, neither a condemnation, nor a destiny which we cannot escape; it is the expression of a way of solving social conflicts, used to deflect the factors that create it, maintaining their conditions and creating better conditions in order to perpetuate itself as a naturalized social dynamic.

Mon
16
Feb

FARC bans recruitment of child soldiers

Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, vowed on Thursday to immediately and indefinitely ban the recruitment of child soldiers.

Until now, the FARC have formally only allowed the incorporation of recruits who are 15 and older. However, international humanitarian law dictates that no minor can take part in military activity.

To comply with international humanitarian law, the FARC announced to “no longer incorporate, from today on, minors of 17 [and younger] in the guerrilla ranks.”

The presumably ongoing recruitment of minors was a thorn in the flesh of human rights organizations and critics of the peace talks, who have been demanding the FARC to expand an earlier imposed unilateral ceasefire with abandoning the use of child soldiers and land mines.

Mon
12
Jan

Illegal armed groups recruited more than 100 Colombian child soldiers in 2014

 

Dec 17, 2014

Illegal armed groups in Colombia have recruited 119 minors in 2014, the country’s Ombudsman’s Office said on Tuesday.

According to the government’s human rights office, guerrilla group FARC — currently engaged in peace talks with the government — allowed 51 minor into its ranks, while the smaller ELN group recruited 22.

Drug trafficking organizations and groups that were formed from the demobilized AUC paramilitary group recruited 55. The office did not report specify the number of recruits per group.

Mon
29
Sep

Colombia army admits recruitment ‘raids’ are illegal

Photo: Vanguardia

Colombia’s army has acknowledged that forcing youths into trucks on the pretext of checking their military status is against the law, newspaper El Espectador reported on Thursday.

In late August, after allegations made ​​in the media about arbitrary raids for recruitment purposes by the Army, better known as “batidas”, the then Head of Army Recruiting General Felix Ivan Muñoz was relieved of his duties. Colonel Mauricio Martinez was confirmed as the replacement and now has the role of promoting “the improvement of processes for defining the military situation of Colombian men.”

This is a recurring issue. The Colombian military has in the past been accused of forced and irregular recruitment of young people and citizens exempt from military service.

These “illegal raids” are carried out in cities where army trucks illegally and forcibly pick up young men on the pretext of checking their military status.

Tue
12
Aug

On militarisation in Colombia

The most recent manifestations of the conflict in Colombia date back to 1948, when the presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitán was assassinated, cutting off the possibility that socialist-leaning ideas might have a place of decision and power in the Colombian state.

Fri
07
Mar

Quotes from WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth conference: Gender and sexuality

The image of masculinity...the model men that go to war, that compete. - Jorge Veléz, Colombia

The Ministry of Women, for example, was created in 2006 and since then one of the main goals that the Minister for Women has proposed is to provide two million female members to the militia. She has already set in motion a first stage where she promised 150,000... - Rafael Uzcategui, Venezuela

We do also have women in the military, but comparatively the ratio is low. – Samuel Koduh, Ghana

Fri
07
Mar

Quotes from WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth conference: Recruitment, and The military in public and private space

Recruitment

The way that I ended up joining the military was that when I was a senior in high school I intended to go to college but I didn't have any way to pay for it...I talked to an army recruiter [about an army scholarship] and he made it sound really good...Any time between signing the contract and going to basic training, you can change your mind and there won't be any consequences. Of course, the recruiters won't tell you that – they'll threaten legal consequences etc... - Kelly Dougherty, USA

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