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A letter from Colombia


Dear friends and war resisters,

You receive a fraternal greeting from the National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors - ANOOC, a network of organizations and groups from different regions of Colombia who are promoting conscientious objection against all - legal and illegal - armed groups, with a nonviolent approach.

We're addressing this email to you with the intention to present you our proposal to construct an international solidarity network for conscientious objectors in Colombia, that contributes to the strengthening of the processes of conscientious objection in Colombia, through the diffusion of information, the development of actions of political pressure in cases of forced recruitment and human rights violations, and the brotherhood between international and national groups of conscientious objection and nonviolence.

Online you'll find a more detailed description of the proposal to construct a national and international solidarity network, enclosing some antecedents, the justification and the action plan, and the document we wrote (in Spanish) for the solidarity network about the situation of militarism and conscientious objection in Colombia.

At this moment we are looking for groups from Europe that share our position of war resistance and nonviolence and that are disposed to support the processes of conscientious objection in Colombia, considering the possibility to participate in the solidarity network that we are constructing. That's the reason why we are inviting you:

1.      To participate in the events we will organize in Medellín to mark the International Conscientious Objectors' Day, including:
  • On the 12th of May: an antimilitarist festival, with the presence of various national and international groups of conscientious objection and nonviolence, social and human rights organizations, college youth, etc., where we will denounce - in an artistic way - the recruitment problem and the militarization of the Colombian society, we will visualize our position of nonviolent resistance and the alternatives we're developing, and we'll launch the international solidarity network for conscientious objectors in Colombia.
  • On the 13th and 14th of May: the 5th National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors, in this occasion amplified with the presence of international delegates, to prepare the nonviolent direct actions that will be unrolled on the 15 th of May, to evaluate the 1st phase of the construction of the solidarity network and to determine the steps of the 2nd phase (speaking tours of the Colombian conscientious objectors in Europe, consolidation and functioning of the solidarity network, concrete protection strategies and mechanisms, etc.).
  • On the 15th of May: nonviolent direct actions in various parts of the city of Medellín together with the different groups of conscientious objection and nonviolence from Colombia and the international delegates, with the purpose to denounce the recruitment problem and the militarization of the Colombian society and to visualize the position of nonviolent resistance of the groups of conscientious objection.
  • On the 16th of May: evaluation of the whole event and the possibility to travel to another region to know the other local processes of conscientious objection.
With respect to the participation expenses, we propose the international delegates to finance their visas and airplane tickets to Medellín, and on the side of the ANOOC we'll contribute with the accommodation and food expenses during the days of the event, from the 11 th till the 16th of May. The persons who would like to travel to another region afterwards, will have to coordinate the logistic matters with the local processes that they will visit.

2.      To publish information about the situation of militarism and conscientious objection in Colombia in the communication media to which you have access (reviews, news bulletins, web pages, etc.).

3.      To organize local actions to sensitize the community about the situation of militarism and conscientious objection in Colombia and to motivate other persons and groups to participate in the activities that eventually will be organized during the visits of the Colombian objectors in the month of June (cf. no. 4).

4.      To receive the visit of 2 Colombian objectors between the 31 st of May and the 14th of June:
  • to know more about the Colombian reality of war and militarism and the processes of conscientious objection,
  • to exchange experiences related to conscientious objection, nonviolence, antimilitarism and war resistance,
  • to organize local events (forums, workshops, radio interviews, direct nonviolent actions, etc.) to sensitize the common people, and
  • to make concrete the strategies of diffusion, denouncement and political pressure towards the future.
For these visits we hope to count with your support to meet the accommodation, food and local travel expenses of the objectors, and on the side of the ANOOC we're looking for the money to cover the airplane tickets from Colombia to Spain and the visa expenses.

Although all these activities take part of the whole proposal to construct the solidarity network, it's not necessary that all interested groups enroll all the activities. Each group can determine which activities they can aim to, starting from their own interests and capacities.

Every kind of support is welcome and will be received with much joy!

Thanks a lot for your attention and we hope to receive a soon answer,
 
Liesbet Niveau

Acción Colectiva por la Objeción de Conciencia en Colombia
National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors.

 
P.S.: Our apologies for the language errors! English is not our mother language.
         You can comunicate with us in English, Spanish or Dutch.