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.

We are opposed to all forms of forced recruitment by any of the armed groups; we demand that state institutions must ensure that this does not happen, furthermore, that these practices shall not be carried out. It is for this reason that we have been working for several years for the respect of the right to conscientiously object to the war and to stop more youths from being driven, in a forced way, to military barracks. This has led us to announce and report all the irregularities that present themselves in the recruitment practices of the Columbian army, which has a policy framework that we continue to see is systematically ignored.

One of the most common and historical practices of forced recruitment, is the so-called “Raid” that is in reality an arbitrary arrest with recruitment as the goal. This practice has been declared as illegal by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest (Opinion 8/08) and the Constitutional Court in Sentences C-879/11 and T-455/14. However, we are still recording these illegal practices which continue to be carried out in different zones of the country, repudiating the existing judicial frameworks. We insist that the legal power to compel young people declared remisos cannot be an excuse for the commission of unconstitutional practices.

Aggravating the situation, those who have intervened and denounced these irregularities in recent days have received ill treatment from the military present in these arbitrary arrests; the aggressions toward conscientious objectors, fathers and mothers, and even a Representative of the House should be highlighted.

We demand strict compliance to the normativity associated with recruitment, especially at this moment in which armed conflict has the opportunity to be transformed, and in which economic and social conflicts could begin to be confronted in a way that is different to the fratricidal war that has written Colombian history.

anooc.colombia@gmail.com

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