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Colombia says goodbye to military service and hello to social service for peace

Young Colombians can choose voluntarily between military service and social service for peace, included in the Total Peace Law, called historic by the left.

Speaking to Sputnik, sociologist Luis Celis explains the changes in Colombian society “about things that were previously considered immovable”.

The Colombian Senate and Chamber of Deputies approved the conciliation of Law 418, the Law of Public Order.

Colombia says goodbye to military service and hello to social service for peace. (Photo internet reproduction)
Colombia says goodbye to military service and hello to social service for peace. (Photo internet reproduction)

They called by the Government of Gustavo Petro ‘Total Peace’, which seeks the submission of armed groups under the law and empowers the Government to initiate negotiations for their disarmament and demobilization.

Another historical point in the law is repealing compulsory military service for young Colombians.

According to the articles, the new law implies the creation of a new institution aimed at young Colombians as an alternative to compulsory military service: the social service for peace.

This alternative to compulsory military service “is a good message in a society that is seeking a path of peacebuilding, that is closing a cycle of violence of more than six decades, that is maturing in democracy, and that is seeking a path of truly peaceful coexistence,” said Colombian sociologist Luis Celis in a conversation with Sputnik.

The 18-year-olds -childless and unmarried- will have to choose between doing social service for peace or military service, which is no longer compulsory.

According to Celis, “the right has always been interested in staying in the war, and the left has always been interested in getting out of the war”.

Therefore, “these State policies are an illusion because if Uribism, which is the extreme right, wins again in Colombia, they will reverse all the measures President Petro took”.

For the advisor in the monitoring and advocacy of closing the armed conflict, “all these State policies, in the Colombian case, are still to be built to have a broad political agreement on fundamental issues”.

The social service for peace will be for 12 months and will be focused on points such as:

  • Promoting digital literacy.
  • We are promoting and defending the human rights of the victims of the conflict.
  • Promote public policy for peace, reconciliation, coexistence, and non-stigmatization.
  • Protect nature, biodiversity, water sources, and marine and coastal habitats.
  • Protect and care for people with disabilities and older adults in vulnerable conditions.
  • To be the guardian of the nation’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
  • To help people affected by natural phenomena or threats.
  • Promote education on risk management and climate change.

The fulfillment of the social service for peace will have a certificate of completion equivalent to the military diploma.

It is not yet determined if the social service will include any remuneration.

With information from Sputnik

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