REMISO is the name of a campaign organized by the National Association of the Youth and Students of Colombia (ANJECO). This campaign aims at denouncing the militarization of society and supports the voices of those that object to doing their military service. The term remiso also indicates the reluctance to do something and more specifically names those who refuse to participate in their military service and don’t present themselves to that obligation.
Still nowadays, the military service is obligatory in Colombia for men over 18 years old. Going against the political views of many young people, different means are used to get away from this obligation. To avoid these withdrawals, the Army organizes what we call «batidas» where trucks come into the towns and illegally take away young men of 18 years and above that have not presented themselves to their military service. These sequestrations are often correlated with physical and mental abuses.
To the obligation to present themselves to the military service, the individuals of 18 years of age and more can object to their participation due to a mental or physical invalidity as well as other predetermined exemptions.
Conscientious objection is: « refusing to accomplish certain acts going against religious, moral or ethical imperatives dictated by one’s conscience.» It can imply the refusal of transporting fire arms. This concept is based on the right of freedom of conscience and freedom to decide your own acts, but can imply civil disobedience, such as in the case of refusing to participate in your military service, which is an obligation in the Colombian Constitution.
It is possible to declare oneself a conscientious objector before the age of 18, while being 18 or any time after, including while serving in the military.
The conscientious objection is a right that is recognized at article 18 of the Colombian Constitution that indicates that freedom of conscience is guaranteed. «No one will be bothered due to his or her convictions or believes, nor is obligated to reveal them or act against their conscience. » This interpretation has been supported in 2009 with the judgement C-728 of the Constitutional Court and the United Nations have confirmed that the objection of conscience is a right recognized by international norms.
We invite all national and international organizations, collectives and movements to:
- Support the REMISO campaign coordinated by ANJECO;
- Denounce the use of batidas as an illegal recruitment mechanism for the military service;
- Support the recognition of the legitimacy to be consciensious objectors.