Colombia: COs forcibly recruited, another protected

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Back in June, conscientious objector Mario Andrés Hurtado Cardozo was granted a tutela (a writ for protection, which should prevent him from being recruited by the military) by the municipality of Soacha, close to Bogotá. Mario was the very first non-religious conscientious objector to receive a tutela in this way. The magistrate ordered military district 59, located in the municipality of Soacha, to resolve his military situation within a maximum of two months. Mario's next struggle is to complete and graduate from his degree with his libreta militar – the card given the conscripts when they finish their time in the military. Being unable to graduate from university is just one of the discriminations that faces those without a libreta militar. You can read his conscientious objection declaration from 2010 (in Spanish) here.

Good news came in July for Jefferson Shayanne Acosta Ortiz. Jefferson was recruited by the military in April. After learning of the right to conscientious objection, he declared himself to be a conscientious objector, and was struggled to be released from the military. During his time in military detention, Jefferson reported receiving constant pressure from his superiors and fellow recruits. Once he was woken by his superiors at 3 am, and then made to put on his uniform and sit in a room while being told to abandon his convictions due to all the benefits of being a soldier. His fellow recruits were being made to perform harder exercises as punishment for his behaviour. Jefferson had attempted to turn in his uniform and weapon as a way of protest, but he was refused. The military have declared they will not treat him as a conscientious objector until he carries legal documentation which declares him as such. He was finally freed on 19 July, and he is awaiting the response to his application for a tutela. Here's an interview with Jefferson shortly after his release.

Forcible recruitment continues in Colombia. CO Josias Johan Tabares Patiño was recruited in a raid in the Aguacatala metro station in Medellín on 14 August 2014. He was released on Sunday 31st August after being found 'unfit' by the military. But the risk of batiads - raids in public places to forcibly recruit young men to the military - is still very much alive.

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Related peace activist(s): Mario Andrés Hurtado Cardozo
Related peace activist(s): Jefferson Chayanne Acosta Ortiz
Related peace activist(s): Josias Johan Tabares Patiño