Country report and updates: Bolivia

Articles related to conscientious objection

25 Apr 2016

Original statement in Spanish

This year on the 22nd of March, the Bolivian Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (PCT) rejected the right of conscientious objection as an alternative to its obligatory military service. This has occurred in spite of the generally agreed-upon right to constitutional protection, brought to attention by 18-year-old objector Ignacio Orías Calvo, who claimed refuge under this fundamental right based on his religious beliefs.

This decision would not seem to follow the same logic of a government fostered by a constitution which, at least on paper, affirms that “Bolivia is a pacifist state, which promotes the Right to Peaceful Solutions and a Peaceful culture”. In actuality, what would appear to be a contradiction fits neatly within the patriarchal and militaristic confines that have characterized the Movement for Socialism of Bolivia (MAS), ever since its army first took root in the country. 

13 Apr 2016

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

17 Mar 2016

La Razón (Edición Impresa) / Ramiro Sánchez Morales

Según la doctrina, la objeción de conciencia es la potestad que tiene una persona para resistirse a obedecer un imperativo o mandato jurídico invocando la existencia de un dictamen de conciencia que le impide sujetarse al comportamiento prescrito por el ordenamiento.

Es, pues, una potestad que permite al individuo negarse a cumplir una obligación establecida por el Estado, como es, entre otros, el servicio militar obligatorio, cuando esa actividad constituye la realización de conductas que se contraponen a sus convicciones íntimas, de manera que los Estados, en el marco de las normas previstas por el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos, lo consagran como un medio o mecanismo de exoneración de la obligación estatal.

11 Feb 2016

A conscientious objector in Bolivia, José Miguel Orías, has been recognised as a CO by a court in La Paz, provided he fulfills conditions they have stipulated. The Constitutional Court will now review the decision made in La Paz; this will likely happen within the next six months. 

The Bolivian Minister of Defence has previously publicly rejected the possibility of Bolivia recoginsiing the right of conscientious objection to military service, so the Constitutional Court may mirror his opinion.

01 Apr 2008

Bolivia’s ombudsperson, Waldo Albarracín, said this Thursday that if the Senate does not change a draft law on compulsory military service approved by the Chamber of Deputies he will turn to international authorities to denounce the government for human rights violations.

Albarracín, who has observed a number of bureaucratic irregularities which attempt to ‘force through’ the approval of the draft law, declared that the rules constitute a flagrant violation of human rights and children’s rights, making children of 16, 17 and 18 years ol