Bolivia: 'Voluntary' conscription of 17 year-olds and plans for substitute service

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Plans for an alternative 'Social Action Service' have been announced by the Bolivian Ministry of Defence. An amendment to the Military Service Law will be proposed to the President this month. Currently, no substitute to military service exists.

In other changes announced in May, a new military service law sanctioned the recruitment of 17 year olds - a kind of 'voluntary' conscription, open to those who give their consent, and also have the consent of parents or guardians. This follows the 2016 Constitutional Court decision which declared a previous attempt at lowering the recruitment age to 17 'unconstitutional'.

At the same time, they extended voluntary conscription to women. Incidentally, Bolivia remain the only State in Latin America to admit trans* people to the military.


Sources: Bolivia: solidarity statement from Colombian objectors after CO loses his case; court rules recent lowering in the age of recruitment to 17 years unconstitutional, War Resisters' International, 13 April 2016; Amplían a 17 años la edad para el servicio militar obligatorio, Ministerio de Defensa, 8 February 2017; Bolivia es el único país de América Latina que permite a personas trans en las Fuerzas Armadas, CNN Español, 27 July 2017; En Bolivia se habilita el Servicio Militar Voluntario de un año para mujeres, La Razon, 24th May 2017; Plantean el servicio social como alternativa al militar, Los Tiempos, 10 August 2017.

Photo: Global Miltiary Justice Reform

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