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Consolidation of the national and international support network for conscientious objectors in Colombia

July 2007
National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors

Presentation:

The National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors - ANOOC is a network of organizations and groups of different regions of Colombia who are promoting conscientious objection against all - legal and illegal - armed groups, with a non-violent approach.

Actually the National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors is conformed by the following processes: Colectivo Objetarte Cali, Kasimba Cali, Movimiento de Objetores y Objetoras Quinto Mandamiento Barrancabermeja, Servicio Paz y Justicia Barranquilla, Funsarep Cartagena, Red Juvenil Paz Caribe, Movimiento Juvenil Indígena Álvaro Úlcue Cauca, Colectivo por la Objeción de Conciencia Norte del Cauca, Movimiento Juvenil Artesanos de Vida Mocoa - Putumayo, Concejo Municipal de Juventudes Puerto Caicedo - Putumayo, Asociación Juvenil y Estudiantil Regional Arauca, Red Juvenil Medellín, and Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia Bogotá.

However, the National Assembly is open to other groups who are interested in promoting conscientious objection in articulation with other organisations, if they agree with the political position of the ANOOC.

One of the main worries of the National Assembly has been the recruitment problem and the constant militarization of civil life by the different actors involved in Colombia's armed conflict. That's the reason why we determined the following action lines:

  • Mutual strengthening between the different processes of conscientious objection by exchanging experiences and organizing formation meetings.
  • National coordination of direct nonviolent actions and public acts.
  • Accompaniment and permanent communication between the different processes of conscientious objection.
  • Construction of a national and international support network for conscientious objectors.

As the state and the illegal armed groups don't recognize the young people who don't want to take part of the war, the conscientious objectors are permanently taking the risk of being forcefully recruited and persecuted or imprisoned in cases of desertion. This situation highlights the need of conscientious objectors, social movements and national and international human rights organizations, to enroll actions to sensitize the national and international public opinion and to design strategies to Project ourselves and to demand our right to conscientious objection and to guarantee our condition of free and autonomous individuals promoting a nonviolent life, instead of reproducing the authoritative and militaristic practices that characterize the Colombian society.

In July 2006 in the city of Bogotá, we organized an international solidarity meeting for conscientious objection in Colombia about political, juridical and social alternatives for conscientious objectors in Colombia, with the presence of various delegates from international movements of conscientious objection and war resistance. It was in that meeting that raised the initiative to construct a national and international support network for the process of conscientious objection in Colombia, with the following results till this moment:



  • We wrote a document about the situation of the militarization and conscientious objection in Colombia, translated in various languages, which was published in the web page of the War Resisters' International - WRI[1] and the ANOOC[2] and sent to various international groups, just as the nr. 74 of The Broken Rifle (review of the WRI) that retook part of this document.
  • We created an e-group, 'colombiaworkinggroup', to facilitate the communication about the national and international support network and the recruitment cases between the different groups.
  • We created, in internet[3], a databasecontaining information on the Colombian conscientious objector (name, telephone, group, declaration, antecedents, lawyer, legal documents, etc.), with the objective to facilitate the actions of denunciation and pressure in cases of emergency (arrest, maltreatment or forced recruitment). The data base includes a public part, a semi-public part accessible to groups from the support network, and a private part accessible to the WRI and the groups of conscientious objection in Colombia.
  • We created a conscientious objector card, issued by the WRI, as a political tool of protection that shows the political position of the objector and demonstrates that the object is part of an international support network and the any arrest, forced recruitment or maltreatment will create international repercussions.
    The criterions to obtain the objector's card are: to be enclosed in the data base; to belong or to be accompanied by a group that takes part of the ANOOC; to have participated in a formation process in conscientious objection; and to have written his/her declaration of conscientious objection.
  • In the mark of the International Day of Conscientious Objection - the 15th of May - we realized various public events (the Antimilitarist Festival and a nonviolent direct action in Medellín, the Objetarte Festival in Cali, and the Journey of Disarmament in Bogotá), with the participation of different national and international groups of conscientious objection and nonviolence, to denounce - in an artistic way - the problem of recruitment and militarization of the Colombian society and to visualize the position of nonviolent resistance of the groups of conscientious objection, as well as the alternatives we're enrolling.
  • In the mark of the the 15th of May we also realized the 5th National Assembly of Conscientious Objectors, with the presence of international delegates form Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Spain, Germany, and the United States, with the aim to evaluate the 1st phase of the construction of the support network, to determine the steps of the 2nd phase, and to make concrete the procedures of protection, denunciation and political pressure for cases of recruitment and violation of the rights of the conscientious objectors.
  • And afterwards we organized, as well in Bogotá as in Medellín and Barrancabermeja, meetings with governmental and non governmental organisms who are playing a roll in the recruitment theme and the guarantee of the rights of the conscientious objectors, in which we presented the national and international support network and the ID card for conscientious objectors and we emphasized in the responsibility of these organisms related with the respect of the right to conscientious objection starting from the international pacts signed by Colombia.

Objective:

To consolidate the international support network for conscientious objectors in Colombia, that contributes to the strengthening of the processes of conscientious objection in Colombia, through the diffusion of information, the development of actions of political pressure in cases of forced recruitment and human rights violations, and the brotherhood between international and national groups of conscientious objection and nonviolence.

Action plan 2nd semester of 2007:

ACTIVITIES

RESPONSIBLES

DATES

DOCUMENTACIÓN SOBRE OBJECIÓN DE CONCIENCIA Y MILITARIZACIÓN

To elaborate a document about the recruitment processes in each region, available in various languages, to complete the document about conscientious objection and militarism in Colombia.

Each local group writes about the recruitment processes in its region. Objetarte redacts the final document.

Translation: ACOOC and WRI.

Delivery of the documents of the regions: 27th of July.

Delivery of the final document: 15th of August.

Translation: September

To elaborate a quarterly electronic newsletter with news of each region related with the recruitment and the enrollment of the conscientious objection.

Each local group writes its part.

Final redaction 1st newsletter: Paz Caribe

Final redaction 2nd newsletter: Serpaj

Newsletter 1: 1st week of August.

Newsletter 2: 1st week of november.

To elaborate an audiovisual presentation about ANOOC, with subtitles in various languages, to use in national and international sensitizing events.

Each region sends audiovisual materials to Quinto Mandamiento, who elaborates the presentation.

Subtitles: WRI

Delivery of materials: 1st of August.

Delivery of the presentation: 15th of August.

Translation: September

COMUNICATION Y DIVULGATION

To enclose the emails of the groups of ANOOC and the support groups in the e-group 'colombiaworkinggroup'.

Each region sends the emails of the responsibles of communication and their national and international contacts.

ACOOC encloses them in colombiaworkinggroup.

15th of July

To bring the webpage up-to-date with formats of denunciation and rights of petition, dates of the local and national authorities responsible of the recruitment and the defense of conscientious objection, information about conscientious objection and militarism, denunciations of recruitment cases, information about the regional processes of conscientious objection, declarations of objectors, a link with the database, etc.

Lorena (Objetarte) sends the information about how to put information in the web page, so that every region can do that, with the support of Igor.

July

SPEAKING TOURS TO SENSITIZE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

To create little coordination teams conformed by the 2 Colombian objectors who'll travel together and 1 person of every country they will visit, to coordinate all the things related with the speaking tours: inviting letters for the visas, economical resources, routes, dates, the contact with the organizations and institutions they will visit, logistics, etc.

The objectors-visitors.

July

To find the necessary economic resources.

All the regions.

August

To obtain the visas.

The objectors-visitors.

August

Formative process about legal and juridical tools for conscientious objection in Colombia and preparation of the presentation of ANOOC in Europe.

The objectors-visitors.

July-October

Preparatory meeting in Bogotá to consolidate the proposals with respect to the social, political and juridical accompaniment of conscientious objectors.

ACOOC

30th - 31st of October

Preparatory workshop in Barcelona with the objectors-visitors and some delegates of the support groups.

WRI and the support groups of Spain.

2nd - 3rd of november

Speaking tours of 2 objectors to Spain, 2 to Germany and Belgium, and 2 to Switzerland and France, with the objective to sensitize the international community and the support groups about the context of militarization, the problems and the work of the objectors in Colombia, and to contribute to the consolidation of the international support network.

The objectors-visitors in coordination with the WRI and the support groups.

4th - 18th of November

Evaluation and projection workshop in Barcelona.

WRI and the support groups of Spain.

19th - 20th of November

DATABASE AND ID CARDS OF CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

To elaborate a manual to bring the database of conscientious objectors in Colombia up-to-date.

Igor.

July

To maintain the database up-to-date with information about the conscientious objectors in Colombia, the local groups of conscientious objection and the support groups.

The local groups and the support groups.

Permanently

To complete the information necessary to elaborate the conscientious objector cards.

Each conscientious objector.

July-September

To elaborate the conscientious objector cards.

ACOOC.

For the assembly of ANOOC in October

To send letters to the local and national authorities implicated in the recruitment, with the declaration of each conscientious objector, a copy of his/her conscientious objector card, and a letter of the WRI and ANOOC explicating the sense of the conscientious objector cards.

Each conscientious objector, in coordination with the WRI and ANOOC.

October

PROCEDIMIENTOS DE PROTECCIÓN, PRESIÓN POLÍTICA Y ACOMPAÑAMIENTO PARA CASOS DE RECLUTAMIENTO Y VIOLACIÓN DE LOS DERECHOS DE LOS/AS OBJETORES/AS DE CONCIENCIA.

To elaborate the formats of denunciation, right of petition and systematization of cases, and enclose them in the webpage of ANOOC.

Formats of denunciation and right of petition: Red Juvenil.

Formats of systematization of cases: ACOOC.

July

To create a national juridical support group, to exchange juridical and legal information and guarantee a mutual support for the accompaniment of cases.

Adriana (Red Juvenil), Maricely (ACOOC), and the objectors-visitors to Europe.

July-August

To organize a meeting for the formation in legal and juridical tools and the consolidation of procedures of accompaniment.

The national juridical support group.

August

The group to which the recruited person belongs communicates with the national juridical support group and sends a communiqué to inform the national and international support network about the case.

The local group to which the recruited person belongs.

In cases of recruitment.

In coordination with the national juridical support group they decide in which moment (starting from the needs of the case and the exhaustion of the internal resources) they'll ask the national and international support network to send solidarity letters to the recruited person and letters of pressure to local, national and international organisms with incidence in the recruitment and the defense of conscientious objection.

The national juridical support group and the local group to which the recruited person belongs.

In cases of recruitment.

To send solidarity letters to the recruited person and letters of pressure to local, national and international organisms.

ANOOC and the groups of the national and international support network.

In cases of recruitment.

To maintain communication with to recruited person, by letters, calls, visits, etc. so that the person feels the accompaniment.

All the groups of ANOOC.

In cases of recruitment.

The local group to which the recruited person belongs systematizes all the information related with the case and maintains the database up-to-date with legal documents, letters and answers, advances, etc. It's the responsibility of the group to advise the national and international support network when there's any change in the situation of the case or when it's resolved.

The local group to which the recruited person belongs.

In cases of recruitment.

Information:

Lucas Pardo y Liesbet Niveau
Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia
Asamblea Nacional de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia
Avenida Calle 32 no. 14-42 Piso 2 Bogotá
Telephone: 0057-1-2853208
Email: objecionbogota@gmail.com

Notes

[1] www.wri-irg.org
[2] www.objecioncolombia.org
[3] https://lists.wri-irg.org/codb

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