The land you love

Call for Submissions: Human Rights Accompaniment issue of Fellowship magazine

By Ethan Vesely-Flad

Fellowship magazine is issuing a call for submissions for its Fall 2011 issue, which will focus on the topic of human rights accompaniment.

Human rights accompaniment refers to unarmed international presence for the protection of communities and civil society organizations in areas of violence and conflict threatened as a result of their human rights and peace-building work. The practice has been tested on the ground in many regions of the world, from the Americas to Asia to Africa, led by organizations whose mission statements express commitments to the goals and processes of nonviolent resistance, participatory democracy, and peace-building.
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The Fifth Commandment

By John Lindsay-Poland
Thursday, September 22, 2011, 6:39pm

by María Elvira Bonilla

Although the struggle to recognize conscientious objectors and put an end to the Colombian military’s illegal recruitment practices, is gaining ground and visibility, these practices persist. El Espectador published the following commentary. Click here to read about the current case FOR is working on and how you can help.

August 29, 2011. See the original version in Spanish.


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Respecting Students: Will the Army Obey the Law?

By Liza Smith

Thursday, September 22, 2011, 6:41pm

August 24. It was a routine recruitment appointment in Medellín, meaning that young men with a pre-assigned number showed up to resolve their military status. A number of them arrived with a certificate of exemption — in this case, they were students and according to Colombian law should be allowed to continue studying instead of fulfilling their military service. One young man qualified for four exemptions: he had been displaced from his home, his father was killed by guerrillas, he was the primary breadwinner in his family, and he was a student. Nevertheless, the Colombian military rushed all the students through the line, performing the required medical and psychological exams, and within hours they had been integrated into the army. Hours later FOR got a call from our partner organization the Red Juvenil with a request that we act on the behalf of these young people who had been victims of irregular recruitment practices by the Colombian army.


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Video: “My Mind is not a Military Target!” – ACOOC International Campaign

By Liza Smith

Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 5:58pm

Irregularities and illegalities in the process of recruitment for compulsory military service are still frequent on a daily basis in Colombia.

Members of ACOOC have therefore gone on a tour in six different countries in Europe in spring 2011.
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The land you love

By Liza Smith

The land you love
 This is a picture of the land I love. It is a piece of land in Colorado where I’ve gone every summer for the last quarter-century — most of my life — and I would be devastated if it were taken away from me.

In Colombia, many people also have a deep relationship to their land. It is where they grow their food, it is a place of memories, family, community, and spiritual traditions.

But more than five million people in Colombia have been forced to leave the land that is most dear to them. In this year alone, 15 leaders who were struggling to have their lands returned to them have been assassinated.
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