Colombian RRepresentative Victor Correa Velez, who is also vice president of the country’s human rights commission, denounced via Twitter Monday that the army has tried to forcefully recruit young people.
“I am being driven in a truck of the National Army that was realizing illegal raids, driving around in [the northern city of] Medellin.”
“We presented juridical arguments to the army so they would not illegally pick up the youngsters and they did not care, they took me in the truck.”
On his Facebook account, Correa Velez posted a video recording the discussion he had with a second lieutenant of the army, urging him to let the minors go while encouraging the minors to get off the truck.
While the military official denies “doing anything” to the young people, the lawmaker told the children: “Anyone who is here against his will can get off – raise your hand.”
“Boys, do not worry. I am a congressman of the Republic, of the Human Rights Commission, you do not have to be here if you do not want to, no one can force you to participate in the war. This follows a legal procedure, while the one you are following is out of the law,” he reportedly said.
Correa Velez explained to teleSUR that such raids were nothing new in Colombia. They target young men from the most disenfranchised social classes of the country, he added, whose rights are easier to violate.
Colombian lawmaker Ivan Cepeda also expressed his support to Correa Velez on Twitter, calling his detention “a serious abuse of authority.”
In 2011, the country's Constitutional Court prohibited the army from carrying out such raids, yet reports such as the one from Congressman Velez seems to show that these practices have still not disappeared in Colombia.