conscientious objectors need our support
War Resisters' International,
London, 13 June 2007
COLOMBIA: Conscientious objector Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié threatened and verbally abused in the military / fear of safety
War Resisters' International received information today that Colombian conscientious objector Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié (COL14911), who has been serving his military service against his will for more than 10 months now, is being threatened and verbally abused in the military.
On 31 May 2007, War Resisters'
International wrote in a co-alert: "Carlos Andrés Giraldo
Hincapié, who was recruited by force on 4 August 2006 (see co-alert
24 November 2006), is now in his 10th month of forced military
service, and has 8 more month to go. While the initial abuse
stopped, he is now part of a military unit that can be sent to
combat zones on short notice."
However, since then we have been informed that he has been verbally abused by 1st sergeant Jhon Jairo Cuestas Baron, partly in front of his entire military unit. Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié now fears for his safety in the military, as this abuse threatens to turn into physical abuse.
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 Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié is therefore illegal even under Colombian law.
In addition, the forced recruitment of Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié 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. Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié father is handicapped (he lost one arm), his brother is epileptic, and his mother is older than 60 years - which would qualify him for exemption under Art 28 of law 48/1993. Due to the illegal recruitment process, he did not have a chance to claim this exemption.
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).
So far - after more than 10 months in military service, Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié has not been able to secure his release from the military. Therefore, international pressure is necessary.
War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié:
Base Militar de Casabe, adscrita al Batallón Plan Energético y Vial Nº 7 de Barrancabermeja, Colombia
War Resisters' International calls for urgent letters and faxes of protest to:
Batallón plan energético y vial Nº 7
Att. Luis Miguel Gomez Qunitero
Fax +57-7-620 89 23 (call first - we are not sure this number works)
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Dr Juan Manuel Santos
Avenida El Dorado Carrera 52 OFI.217
Centro Administrativo Nacional (CAN)
Fax: +57-1-266 0351
A protest email (in Spanish) can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20070613a.html.
Defensoria del pueblo Barrancabermeja
Oficina Principal - Dirección: Calle 54 No. 27 - 65 (Barrancabermeja -
Teléfono: +57-7-6222733 - 6212999 - Fax: +57-5-6212666
Correo electrónico: email@example.com
Defensora del pueblo regional: Esperanza Ramírez Castro
A protest email (in Spanish) can be sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20070613b.html.
War Resisters' International calls
for the immediate release of Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié from
War Resisters' International