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COLOMBIA: Conscientious objector Frank Yair Estrada Marin illegally recruited

Pays:
  • Colombie
Alert:
War Resisters' International was informed today that Colombian conscientious objector Frank Yair Estrada Marin (COL14922) has been illegally recruited on 5 May 2007, and is presently being held in the Batallon Pedro Justo Berrio in Medellin.
On the morning of 5 May, Frank Yair Estrada Marin was taken by soldiers from the Batallon Pedro Justo Berrio to the batallon, under the pretext that they needed to perform a medical examination to verify his ability to perform military service. However, because Frank Yair Estrada Marin did not have a military card (libreta militar), he was immediately recruited, under protest of Frank Yair Estrada Marin, who declared that he did not agree with any of the armed groups in Colombia, because he is a conscientious objector.

Three important legal aspects are to be considered in this case:

1. The way of recruitment. Recruitment is regulated in Colombian law 48 of 1993. While this law requires to "clarify ones military situation when someone reaches the age of 18" (Art 14). However, failure to do so can only be punished with a fine (Art 41 and 42). The law does not specify that in such cases the normal recruitment procedure, as outlined in Articles 14-21 of the law, does no longer apply. The recruitment of Frank Yair Estrada Marin is therefore illegal even under Colombian law.
In addition, the forced recruitment of Frank Yair Estrada Marin is a violation of the "right to personal liberty (Article 7), the protection of human dignity (Article 11) and the right to freedom of movement (Article 22), guaranteed in the American Convention on Human Rights, in connection with Article 1.1 of that same legal instrument", according to a decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in a very similar case from Guatemala (CASE 10.975, 6 October 1993).

2. His possible reasons for exemption from military service. Article 28 of law 48/1993 defines the reasons for exemption from military service. Frank Yair Estrada Marin has medical problems with his spine. Due to the illegal recruitment process, he did not have a chance to claim any exemption on medical grounds.

3. The right to conscientious objection. Colombia is signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The right to conscientious objection is recognised by the United Nations Human Rights Committee as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, as guaranteed by Article 18 ICCPR. In fact, in a recent decision on two cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea, the Human Rights Committee stated that not to provide for the right to conscientious objection is a violation of Article 18 ICCPR (see CCPR/C/88/D/1321-1322/2004 from 23 January 2007).

War Resisters' International considers the forced recruitment of Frank Yair Estrada Marin as arbitrary detention. It constitutes a violation of Colombian law 48/1993, of articles 7, 11, and 22 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Frank Yair Estrada Marin:
    Batallon Pedro Justo Berrio, Carrera 70 Nro 1-50, Medellin, Colombia

War Resisters' International calls for urgent letters of protest to:

    Comandante
    Batallón Pedro Justo Berrio
    Carrera 70 Nro 1-50
    Medellin, Colombia

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Frank Yair Estrada Marin from military service.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Archives of co-alert can be found at http://wri-irg.org/news/alerts