Statement in solidarity with the conscientious objectors of Bolivia by ANOOC, Colombia

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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. 

José Miguel Orías: sentencia constitucional plurinacional

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SENTENCIA CONSTITUCIONAL PLURINACIONAL 0265/2016-S2Sucre, 23 de marzo de 2016


Bolivia: solidarity statement from Colombian objectors after CO loses his case; court rules recent lowering in the age of recruitment to 17 years unconstitutional

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

The statement protests the decision of the Bolivian Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal to reject the application of 18-year-old objector Ignacio Orías Calvo to be recognised as a CO. The statement ends  'We furthermore show support for objectors such as Ignacio Orías Calvo, along with all of the teachers who strive to enforce nonviolent mentalities; with all of the women who every day have to face the deadly consequences of a damaging, chauvanistic patriarchy; and with the thousands of young indigenous and farmers that even today, 500 years after the violent conquest, are still needing to be “civilized” under the slogan “God and Country.”'

Objeción de conciencia al servicio militar

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.

Conscientious objector in Bolivia

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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.

Mining, militarization and criminalization of social protest in Latin America

Cesar Padilla, Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America, OCMAL

It is not news to say that extractivism in Latin America has been imposing an increasingly deeper model of extraction and export. The competition to be a destination of mining, oil-reserves, forestry or fishing investment is a characteristic of the majority of the countries in the region.

However, extractavism is receiving increasing criticism from broad sections of society including academia and social movements.

Resisting the mining law in Bolivia

By Angela Cuenca Sempértegui

The Bolivian economy is traditionally based on the extraction and export of large volumes of unprocessed natural resources, and this type of economy is called 'extractivist'. Mining and hydrocarbons are the most representative economic activities of this type, but what is often forgotten is that it is a case of extraction and exportation of non-renewable resources, resources that we are losing and thi is far worse if the exportation of raw materials (minerals) is controlled by others.

98% of extractive mining industry is run by the private sector (cooperatives and transnational companies). Just 2% is run by the state, meaning that the state has not regained sovereignty over mineral resources. Bolivia is facing serious environmental problems and violation of collective rights that have impacted water supplies, polluted the soils, and effected the health and quality of life of the people that live in territories with mining activities. Mining code Nº 1777, which favours the miners economic interests – and was approved by the ex-president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, himself a mining businessman (COMSUR) - is still valid.

CASA Collective in Bolivia: Against the Extraction of Life and Pro Environmental, Social and Gender Justice

Oil and minerals are two resources which the system consumes with a velocity and anxiety akin to that of an addiction, to such an extent that when these resources are in danger of becoming in short supply, either owing to their depletion or an increase in international prices, the system experiences a crisis, a ‘deliria tremens’, and becomes capable of killing, robbing, and committing armed assault, in order to restore the flow of these two resources into its economy. We saw in Iraq and in the Middle East what can happen because of oil; we saw in Conga Peru and in each of our so-called ‘mining’ countries the deaths that can come as a result of the pursuit of gold and other metals.

Bolivia: Ombudsperson to challenge military service law with international authorities

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

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