Colombia

The antimilitarist movement in Colombia describes the situation that has been experienced in Colombia since April 28, 2021, the reasons why demonstrations have been held since that date and the militarized response of the government. This is an urgent call for solidarity to challenge he discourses of war and fear that today find an absolutely opposite correlate to the cultural resistance, the bets for change and the possibility of building horizons more in line with the reality of the Colombian people and their proposals to materialize peace from the territories, in diversity and dignified life.

Social movements across Colombia are facing severe repression and violence from the police and military. The demonstrations began on 28th April 2021 as a general strike was called in response to an unpopular tax reform and the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Collective Action of Conscientious Objectors (Spanish: la Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia, or ACOOC) is a social organization which, based around the concepts of nonviolence and conscientious objection, supports alternatives to Colombian militarism, militarization, and the patriarchy, via legal, public campaigning, and educational strategies. Since 2006, ACOOC has worked alongside young people and their communities with to cultivate a peaceful culture.

The first webinar of our series, Campaigning for Conscientious Objection to Military Service, co-organised with QUNO and IFOR, is taking place on Wednesday, 3rd Feb. In our first event, we will have campaigners from Geneva (Switzerland), Seoul (S.Korea) and Bogotá (Colombia), explaining the role of litigation in their campaigns supporting conscientious objectors.

Up to now, Colombia’s response to the pandemic - the Common Enemy - has been one of a familiar nationalist and militarist rhetoric, a staunchly-upheld, militarized response that is unfolding in Colombia’s towns and cities.

In February of this year, we sent out a CO-Alert of a Colombian Conscientious Objector, Brayan Gonzalez, who was irregularly recruited by the Army. His CO application wasn't recognised by the military Interdisciplinary Commission. To avoid being charged for desertion, he decided to come back to the battalion. He continues refusing inside the battalion. Read Brayan's story and consider sending the support letter. 

In response to the many known cases of sexual abuse and harassment of women by members of the armed forces and the police in different places in Colombia, at the end of July, the Colombian vice-president Martha Lucía Ramirez held a meeting with the Defence Ministry and the Military Forces. During this meeting, the Vice-president proposed the inclusion and recruitment of women as a strategy that could prevent violence against women by members of the military and police forces.

The German arms company Sig Sauer has announced it intends to close its arms factory in Eckernförde by the end of year. The company blamed "locational handicaps" and the German military and police preferring a "few other local producers".

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