Colombian CO detained in raid and held for 45 days

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In a powerful reminder of the ongoing problem of batidas (forced recruitment raids on the streets, like press gangs), Colombian CO Juan Carlos Poveda Camaro (http://www.wri-irg.org/node/21996) was recruited in Villavicencio, and held for 45 days.

If a man cannot produce a libreta militar (a card that he receives on completion of military service), then during a batida he is likely to be forcibly recruited then and there. WRI has been engaged in campaigning in on batidas for many years, including reporting to the UN Human Rights Committee in 2009. This form of forced recruitment has been condemned by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Human Rights Committee (see CO Update August 2010), and the Constitutional Court of Colombia, which in December 2011 ruled that the military is not able to compel anyone to perform military service.

Despite this ruling, seventy batidas were documented by the Association of Colombian Conscientious Objectors from October 2012 to May 2013 alone, including cases of military units from outlying cities illegally recruiting to fill gaps in distant brigades.

Sources: FOR Colombia, Walking Toward Peace Amid War, 31 July 2013; WRI, Juan Carlos Poveda Camargo, 24 June 2013, El Especador, El Distrito objeta conciencia, 26 July 2013.

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