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The implementation of instructions and retraining of the troops with regard to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law has allowed the demobilization of 38 members from terrorist organizations in the Department of Huila.
The first thing alias “Teofilo” said to me with terror in his voice was: “When are you going to kill me?” Said, Major Gil Trujillo Commander of Counterguerrilla Battalion No. 28.
The broad grin, that can easily be seen now on the face of alias “Teofilo”, demobilized member of FARC’s Western block, contrasts with the question asked a few days before and the look of terror in his eyes, as he addressed the commander of the unit to which he surrendered, after belonging to the terrorist organization for eight years. “Those of us who want to leave the guerrilla ranks are afraid that they will kill us; what our comrades say is that the soldiers, as soon as they get the information out of us, they will torture us and make us disappear. That is our biggest fear. But those are only things they make up to keep us there.”
“The treatment I received from the soldiers was like that of a friend you have not seen for a long time. They congratulated me for taking the decision and they gave me food to eat and they have offered me security from the moment I turned myself in. Nowadays, I am the person that I hadn’t been for a long time. A person with rights, who can decide what to do with his life and all thanks to the soldiers who helped me.”
The topic of Human Rights, is implemented more and more towards the core of the Military Armed Forces, and the effort and efficiency have been such with this type of training, that it has allowed several men and women who were members of illegally armed organizations to demobilize in the Department of Huila. An example of this is the 38 members that have fled terrorist organizations voluntarily and surrendered to Army troops. They have demobilized with total certainty that their rights will be respected by the soldiers.
This is the way commander of the Ninth Brigade, General William Fernando Pérez Laiseca, expresses himself, “Even in the most difficult situations of armed conflict, when reason is subordinated by the cruelty of combat, it has been possible to implement the ideal of respecting human life and the rights of the opponent, which is contemplated in the integral policies of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law created by the Ministry of Defense, having our soldiers understand that legitimacy of the State is achieved by respecting Human Rights”
The novel strategy of the Ministry of Defense has restructured soldier training to levels of instruction according to rank and labor for each of them in the areas of conflict, so that a soldier may identify the possible cases where he would be likely to violate Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, with simulated situations on a Human Rights obstacle course.
According to Major Mario Alberto Martínez, commander of the Center for Instruction and Retraining from the Ninth Brigade, every six months to soldiers retrain on the Human Rights Course with seven requirements that they must meet in order to be certified. “This strategy has increased troop awareness on how to act in situations where they can compromise human rights; fortunately, the results have been very positive for their actions. We have managed to make them understand that in order to defeat terrorism, the success is achieving support from the population.”
The training has also managed to make the troops control the situation of their operations better, despite the stress generated by combat, achieving more effective offensive action in the application of Human Rights during the war.
So far this year, military units of the Ninth Brigade have captured 59 terrorists, 11 of them from Farc, whose rights have been fully respected, even in combat situations, which has demonstrated the level of internalization that the strategy has had in the humanizing of something that is practically impossible to humanize: “War”.