COLOMBIA: Brayan Gonzalez, Conscientious Objector, continues to resist inside the battalion

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Brayan Gonzales Blanco CO

URGENT ACTION TO SUPPORT THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR, BRAYAN ESTIVEN GONZALEZ BLANCO, RECRUITED ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2019

"Why use violence if there is the possibility of dialogue and proposing solutions without resorting to abuse?" (Declaration by Brayan Estiven González Blanco).

Dear friends:

We would like to let you know about the situation of a young man who wasn't recognised as a conscientious objector, by the decision-making body established by the recruitment law called the Interdisciplinary Commission of Conscientious Objection, made up mainly of the military and officials of the military institution. For this reason, we are asking for support and accompaniment actions in solidarity with his current situation.

On September 2, 2019, Brayan Estiven González Blanco approached the Military District 51 in Bogotá voluntarily to receive information and start the process to resolve his military situation. On the same day, his identity document was arbitrarily retained, psychophysical aptitude tests were carried out, without giving him any explanation about his rights and grounds for exoneration from compulsory military service.[1] He was recruited and transferred in a military vehicle to the Batallón Especial Energético y Vial No. 13, located in the municipality of Ubalá, Cundinamarca.

Brayan was arbitrarily recruited because the army did not give him time to deliver the documents that accredited him as a student and as a conscientious objector, ignoring his right to due process to resolve the military situation and the grounds for exoneration.

In February 2020, Brayan obtained a permit that allowed him to leave the battalion and request advice and accompaniment from the Collective Action of Conscientious Objectors (ACOOC) to take legal actions and formally start the process to be recognised as a conscientious objector. Days later, when he returned to the Battalion, Brayan said that several soldiers threatened him and exerted psychological pressure on him, which is why he filed a petition before the Ombudsman's Office requesting its urgent intervention. The Ombudsman's Office issued an intervention document on the case of objector BRAYAN ESTIVEN GONZALEZ BLANCO, addressed to the Directorate of Recruitment and Reserve Control, where he exposed the aforementioned irregularities and requested his release.

On February 19, 2020, the Facatativá Military District No. 46, set March 9, 2020, as the date to hold the Interdisciplinary Territorial Commission. However, the military authority didn't inform about this meeting and prevented the immediate realease of Brayan until his status as an objector was resolved by the Interdisciplinary Territorial Commission for Conscientious Objection, as required by subsection 4 of Article 79 of Law 1861 of 2017.

On March 9, 2020, the Interdisciplinary Territorial Commission meeting was held in the facilities of the Thirteenth Recruitment Zone, where he was informed that he was not recognised as a conscientious objector. Given this, ACOOC filed legal appeals before the military authorities, but these were postponed due to the sanitary emergency.

On June 24, 2020, a petition was filed requesting the protection of the right of free movement, due process, and conscientious objection, unknown due to the irregular recruitment procedure that was carried out. On July 7, 2020, the 49 Administrative Court ordered the release of Brayan until the entire process of formal recognition as a conscientious objector was finished. .

On July 12, 2020, in compliance with the mandate of a judge, the DIRECTORATE OF RECRUITMENT-DIREC., by default, without assessing the legal system and Brayan's resistance, persistence, and disobedience acts, confirmed the decision taken at first by not formally recognizing Brayan as a conscientious objector, which caused the young man to decide to return to the Battalion after a 15-day leave - putting his physical and psychological integrity at risk - and to avoid being judged for desertion.

For a year BRAYAN ESTIVEN GONZALEZ BLANCO has resisted inside the battalion, his refusal to obey orders, to use and carry arms and military uniforms, as a legitimate exercise of the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service. For this reason, he is under permanent psychological pressure, since he is recruited against his will.

Therefore, we request your support in one of the following ways:

  • Send an email (using the Spanish version of the support letter) to the Recruitment Directorate and the Recruitment and Reserve Control Command, requesting the freedom of Brayan Estiven, in addition to the definition of his military situation guaranteeing his fundamental right to conscientious objection.

  • Please copy the email you send to the Ombudsman's Office, Attorney General's Office, Vice Ministry of Defense, Presidential Council for Human Rights and to ACOOC at objecion@objetoresbogota.org 

  • You can also send the support letter to the Colombian embassy in your own country. Find a list here.

  • Also, share this information with other organisations. On social media, use the hashtag #mimentenoesobjetivomilitar and #libertadparabrayan

In advance, we appreciate your support.

Best regards,

COLLECTIVE ACTION OF CONCIENCIOUS OBJECTORS - ACOOC

objecion@objetoresbogota.org

Bogotá - Colombia

Solidarity

Consider cutting and pasting the support letter (in Spanish) and sending it from your own account like this:

 

Support Letter

***(This is an auto-translation so you can learn the content of the Spanish one. Please use and send the Spanish version of this letter)***

 

RECRUITMENT COMMAND AND RESERVE CONTROL

Directorate of Recruitment of the Army

Bogotá. DC.

We are sending you this letter to express our concern for Brayan Estiven González Blanco, high school graduate, student of a language program, and conscientious objector, who was arbitrarily recruited on September 2, 2019.

Brayan Estiven was recruited, after approaching the Military District No. 51 of Bogotá DC, to receive information about the procedure to resolve his military situation. Immediately, his identity document was withheld, psychophysical aptitude tests were carried out, and that same day (September 2, 2019), he was transferred to the Batallón Especial Energético y Vial No. 13, Independencia de Cundinamarca, located in the municipality of Ubala, Cundinamarca, to perform military service.

BRAYAN ESTIVEN GONZALEZ BLANCO has remained in the facilities of the Batallón Especial Energético y Vial No.13, Independencia de Cundinamarca, for twelve (12) months and he has sustained his convictions through the refusal to be execute warlike practices, hoping to find his recognition by the Interdisciplinary Commission as a Conscientious Objectior. However, the authorities denied his request, and at no time did they order his release, ignoring all the rights including due process.

We know that Brayan Estiven complies with the conditions noted by Colombia's Constitutional Court, Sentence C-728 of 2009 to call on the fundamental right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service since he has maintained a coherent position and his commitment to nonviolence, which shows their deep, fixed and sincere convictions.

For these reasons, we want to express our support to Brayan Estiven González Blanco and his family and we ask you to:

  • Protect and recognize the fundamental rights to conscientious objection to compulsory military service, as established in Sentence C-728 of 2009 to the objection, and as established by the Political Constitution of Colombia in its Articles 18 and 19, and as required by Law 1861 of 2017, by incorporating this right as a ground for exoneration to the provision of compulsory military service and specifying the procedure for its exercise.
  • Release Brayan Estiven and resolce his military situation, guaranteeing his fundamental right to conscientious objection.

Sincerely,

Sign and send this support email


[1] In Colombia, military service is compulsory for all men when they reach their majority. However, the Constitutional Court of Colombia in Sentence C-728 of 2009 establishes that conscientious objection to compulsory military service is a fundamental right, according to international norms and treaties on the subject. Despite this, the Military Forces in Colombia do not respect and do not guarantee that young people can exercise this right. Law 1861 of 2017, through which the recruitment, reserve control and mobilization service are regulated, incorporated the right to conscientious objection as a ground for exoneration, following the guidelines of the unification sentence SU-108/2016.