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Conscientious objection in South Korea with Seungho Park

Start Datum: 
27 May 2015

Where: Peace Pledge Union, 1 Peace Passage, London, N7 0BT

When: Wednesday 27th May, 7.00pm

Please RSVP to hannah[at]

CO day in Seoul, 2015CO day in Seoul, 2015There are more conscientious objectors to military service in prison in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) than the rest of the world put together. Come and hear why - and what's being done to challenge this - from Seungho Park, an activist working for World Without War, an antimilitarist and pacifist group in South Korea. Seungho is  currently on a speaking tour of Europe to raise awareness and support for their campaign. He has previously worked for Amnesty International in South Korea.

The event starts at 7.00pm on Wednesday 27 May. An informal presentation on the CO movement in South Korea will be followed by a time for discussion and questions (also on World Without War's other campaigns, including against war profiteering and the arms trade), and a chance to look round the new Peace Pledge Union exhibition: Refusing to Kill, looking at conscientious objectors and other men and women who challenged the British state during World War One.

Support conscientious objectors today

Photo: Amnesty InternationalPhoto: Amnesty International

15th May is International Conscientious Objection Day - a joint day of action used by peace activists around the world to support those who refuse to be part of the militarist system, as well as to remember and learn from conscientious objectors of past generations.

Those who resist war and preparations for war expose the military for what it is. As Yeook Yang, from World Without War, a WRI affiliate in South Korea, tells us: "In a highly militarised society where any discussion of the military is taboo, conscientious objectors are making it clear that the military exists only to kill."

For us, conscientious objection is part of a wider nonviolent struggle to transform oppressive and violent systems, and show an alternative way.

Take action

Here are some ways you can support conscientious objectors around the world today:

  • attend a CO day event. See our list here in English, Español, Deutsch for info on events in South Korea, Turkey, the USA, Colombia, Britain, Greece, Germany, France and Paraguay.
  • talk about CO day on social media. Use #COday in English or #díaOC in Spanish
  • sign and share our petition for COs in Korea. Find it here in English, and here in German. You can print a version to share with your contacts in person here
  • COs in Colombia are calling for your input into their campaign! They would like short videos of people answering the question: Which service would you provide to your community if you did not have to do military service? More info:
  • share our press release, which focuses on conscientious objection in South Korea:
  • sign up to receive CO Alerts, which put pressure on authorities imprisoning and punishing conscientious objectors

News release: Campaigners call for the release of over 600 conscientious objectors imprisoned in South Korea

Contact Hannah Brock on +44-20-7278 4040 and

Today marks International Conscientious Objection day. Worldwide, 92% of all conscientious objectors imprisoned for refusing obligatory military service are in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). An international campaign is calling for their release and the recognition of the right to conscientious objection everywhere.

Introduction to conscientious objection in Republic of Korea

An introduction to conscientious objection in Republic of Korea, from World Without War. Download it here.

Introduction to conscientious objection in Finland

An introduction to the Union of Conscientious Objectors in Finland, AKL. Download here.

War Sucks, Let's Party! Grafitti in FinlandWar Sucks, Let's Party! Grafitti in Finland





To be a conscientious objector is not a crime: petition for South Korean COs




War Resisters' International, Amnesty International, Connection e.V. and World Without War are petitioning the South Korean Defence Minister, General Han Min-Koo 한민구, calling upon his government to immediately and unconditionally release all conscientious objectors; recognise conscientious objection as a human right inherent to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; make appropriate provision for conscientious objectors to military service; and to clear the criminal records and provide compensation for conscientious objectors who have been imprisoned for refusing military service in the past.

Sign it online here and download a paper version here.

Turkish antimilitarists protest IDEF 2015 arms fair

Turkish antimilitarists protest the IDEF arms fairTurkish antimilitarists protest the IDEF arms fairOn Friday 8th May, ten protesters met in front of the IDEF 2015 Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul, Turkey. The protesters, who came together with the call from the Conscientious Objection Association were met with a heavy police presence including 15 civilian police, tens of riot police and one water cannon truck.