I’m back from Colombia. Over the following days I’ll post some of my impressions of the 14th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns, which was held in Bogotá .
The conference brought together local activists from the movement to protect the right of conscientious objection to military service with international activists promoting various forms of conscientious objection to military taxation.
We met for five days (unusually long for these conferences) so as to give us enough time to address and share the specific concerns of both groups.
The international visitors shared an exercise of elucidating the conscientious sentiments that lead them to resist, discussed tactics of use to tax resistance campaigns, shared information on the activities of their local campaigns, and discussed the status of an international organization nominally dedicated to promoting conscientious objection to military taxation as a legally recognized human right.
The local activists organized and executed a campaign in which they visited politicians, national and international human rights representatives, government officials, and representatives within the military to express their concerns and pursue their ongoing campaign to strengthen the legal rights of conscientious objectors and stop illegal military press gangs (they were accompanied by the international conferees on these visits).
In between, conferees heard from expert speakers including presidential candidate Clara López and former constitutional court justice Carlos Gaviria Díaz speaking on conscience and on the prospects for peace in Colombia.
The conference was coordinated by the Colombian group Accion Colectiva de Objectoras y Objetores de Conciencia and Conscience & Peace Tax International. Representatives from several nations joined the conference. This was the first time this international conference has met in South America.