Positive constitutional court decision in Colombia for COs

Campaigners in Colombia have been boosted by a new ruling from the Constitutional Court. In a case brought by two conscientious objectors (COs) who had been forcibly recruited into the military, in January the Court ordered the National Recruitment Office to: resolve applications for CO within 15 days; to publish a booklet that notifies youth of their grounds for exemption, deferral, and their right to CO; and to end the practices of arbitrary detention, including batidas (recruitment raids, usually in public spaces). This right to claim conscientious objection includes once they have already entered the barracks. They have also asked the Army to report, within six months, on the implementation of these orders. If fully adopted, the changes would mark a huge change for young people in Colombia, and especially COs.

Following the decision in December to allow students to graduate from university with the libreta militar (military card you receive on completion of obligatory military service), Diego Carreño Neira has become the first conscientious objector in Colombia to openly graduate from college without a libreta military. Diego first declared his conscientious objection in 2003, and finished his studies in 2010. Now, five years later, he is able to claim his degree. Congratulations Diego!

Sources: ACOOC & FOR Peace Presence, Primer objetor de conciencia al servicio militar obligatorio obtiene el título profesional sin la libreta militar en Colombia, 27 February 2015; PeacePresence.org, Historico Fallo por la Objeción de Conciencia en Colombia, 31 January 2015; El Espectador, Camino despejado para objetar conciencia,  27 January 2015