Introduction to Colombia
Colombia is a country characterised by daily violence and enormous differences between poor and rich. The country is highly militarised, and a civil war has been going on for more than 40 years. Both the government army, the FARC guerillas (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN guerillas (Ejército de Liberación Nacional — National Liberation Army), and the paramilitaries, are all very present in society, committing violence and recruiting young people. Militarism is reflecting Colombian patriarchy. Only men are conscripted to the government army, but in the name of gender equality women are recruited to both the guerilla groups and to the paramilitaries. Because of this situation in Colombian society, women within the antimilitarist movement declare themselves as conscientious objectors, objecting to militarism in its broad sense.
We present here a contribution by Andrea Ochoa on women as conscientious objectors, and several declarations of women conscientious objectors.
Introduction by Ellen Elster, War Resisters' International