Bolivia: solidarity statement from Colombian objectors after CO loses his case; court rules recent lowering in the age of recruitment to 17 years unconstitutional

Bolivian army training. Photo: USASOC News ServiceBolivian army training. Photo: USASOC News ServiceColombian conscientious objectors have released a statement with conscientious objectors in Bolivia. Read it here in English (Spanish version here).

The statement protests the decision of the Bolivian Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal to reject the application of 18-year-old objector Ignacio Orías Calvo to be recognised as a CO. The statement ends  'We furthermore show support for objectors such as Ignacio Orías Calvo, along with all of the teachers who strive to enforce nonviolent mentalities; with all of the women who every day have to face the deadly consequences of a damaging, chauvanistic patriarchy; and with the thousands of young indigenous and farmers that even today, 500 years after the violent conquest, are still needing to be “civilized” under the slogan “God and Country.”'

Though the constitutional court ruled against Ignacio Orías Calvo, in March it made the positive decision to declare unconstitutional the 'Supreme Decree 1875', a law which reduced the age of recruitment to compulsory military service from 18 to 17 years of age. 1875 runs contrary to Bolivia's obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Iberoamerican Convention on Youth Rights. Though this is a positive decision, it has taken 18 months to be addressed by the court, in which time, thousands of 17 year old children may have been recruited.

Sources: Derechos en Acción, Servicio Militar: el Tribunal Constitucional finalmente se pronuncia, 26 March 2016; Colectiva la tulpa, Comunicado en solidaridad con los objetores de conciencia en Bolivia por ANOOC, Colombia, 11 April 2016