Colombia

On November 22, in Colombia, ACOOC, Justapaz, La TULPA Collective and the Anti-militarist Articulation organized a public forum to discuss the law of conscription that regulates conscientious objection in Colombia after one year of its approval. As part of the event, the organizations released a report that evaluates the implementation of the law and its impact on conscientious objectors. The experiences of three conscientious objectors were presented and strategies were presented to continue promoting conscientious objection among the youth of the country.

Colombia is known internationally for its peace agreements signed in 2016 between the national government and at that time the FARC guerrilla. Although peace agreements do not guarantee the end of all conflicts, it would be expected that the country's economic resources would be directed towards the implementation of the agreements with investments on rural development, education or health. However, the story has been different: an increase in military spending and a decrease in budget for other sectors (such as public education or rural development).

In August of 2017 the law 1861 of August 4, 2017, that regulates the military recruitment in Colombia was approved. A law that recognized, for the first time, conscientious objection as a cause of exoneration from compulsory military service along with other causes that were already contemplated: being an only child, being married, being a victim of the armed conflict, among others.

We are looking to hire a new worker for our Right to Refuse to Kill programme, which supports conscientious objectors (COs) and CO solidarity organisations around the world. The new worker will be based in Colombia, and run the Right to Refuse to Kill (RRtK) Programme alongside the other staff in London. This will include planning WRI’s International Assembly in Colombia in 2019.

In December 2017, the Colombian government hosted the ExpoDefensa arms fair in Bogota. Nearly 300 exhibitors from 35 countries took part in the fair, with over 12,000 visitors attending, including 76 official delegations.

Colombia

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Download this report as a pdf

Updated February 2017; researcher Victoria E. Giraldo

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