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Colombia, 2/26/2020

Lieutenant Colonel Luis Manuel Molina, Commander of the Battalion "Especial Energético y Vial N°13 Independencia de Cundinamarca" BAEEV13

Comandante Johan Pino, Comandante del Distrito Militar N°46


February 26, 2020

Dear Sirs,

We are writing to express our concerns about the harsh treatment by the military against conscientious objector Brayan Stiven Gonzáles Blanco. He was recruited irregularly on September 2, 2019 by military authorities of Military District No. 51 and transferred to the Battalion "Especial Energético y Vial N°13 Independencia de Cundinamarca," where he has been performing military service against his will.

Legal procedures were not followed in the way that Brayan Stiven Gonzáles Blanco was recruited by the military. Prior to his recruitment, he was enrolled in an academic international language program. On September 2, the military confiscated his identity document and subjected him to a test for psychophysical aptitude. The military did not give Brayan Stiven Gonzáles Blanco any explanation of his rights or grounds for exoneration. This irregular recruitment is in violation of Law 1861 of 2017 (detaining him arbitrarily), Art. 12(N) (causes of exoneration) and Art. 34(G) of the same law (grounds for postponement of recruitment).  

After consulting with the Collective Action of Conscientious Objectors (ACOOC), Brayan began the formal process to define his military situation as a conscientious objector at the beginning of this month, exercising his right granted by the Colombian Constitution, which recognizes the Recruitment Act 1861/17. On February 5 he was threatened and constrained by military commanders of the Battalion No. 13: Major Moreno, Captain Vanegas, and Sergeant Tarazona. Captain Vanegas threatened him: “We are going to initiate a court martial because what you are doing is a crime.”

These attitudes and treatment by military commanders undermine the fundamental rights of Brayan Stiven Gonzáles Blanco as a citizen of Colombia. No person should be subjected to psychological violence or threats due to their convictions.

We strongly urge that you intervene to

  • ensure that all forms of pressure on Brayan Stiven Gonzáles Blanco cease
  • protect the physical and psychological integrity of Brayan Stiven Gonzáles Blanco, in strict accordance with his wishes
  • release Brayan Stiven Gonzáles Blanco from military service so that he can continue the process to define his military situation, according to the law of Colombia


Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez, Co-Coordinators


Excmo. Sr. Presidente Iván Duque Márquez, President of Colombia ~ via email
Sr. Fiscal General Néstor Humberto Martínez Neira, Attorney General of Colombia ~ via email
Francisco Santos Calderón, Ambassador of Colombia to the US ~ via email
Rebecca Daley, Human Rights Officer, US Embassy in Colombia ~ via email
Christine Russell, Desk Officer for Colombia, US State Dept ~ via email
Antonia Urrejoa, Rapporteur for Colombia, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email, US mail
War Resisters International ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Gonzalez, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Ryan ~ via email