News from WRI

17 May 2016
English

Photo: Ruth Davey/www.look-again.orgPhoto: Ruth Davey/www.look-again.org

I spent the weekend in the good company of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), a European umbrella organisation campaigning for the rights of conscientious objectors. In their 30+ year history, EBCO have never before met in Britain. They chose to on this occasionat the invitation of the First World War Peace Forum, a group of British peace groups working to give an alternative, antimiltiarist view of the centenary memorials to the first World War, which in Britain have been an excuse for nationalism and militarism.

15 May 2016
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Image: World Without War, Korea. Advertising a CO day bike action in support of conscientious objectors in jailImage: World Without War, Korea. Advertising a CO day bike action in support of conscientious objectors in jail

Today is International Conscientious Objection day - a day to celebrate those who have - and those who continue - to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.

Antimilitarist activists around the world are sharing the stories of conscientious objectors to military service, including over 700 imprisoned in South Korea, those in Venezuela struggling for the right to refuse military service in the Soy Civil No Militar (I am civil not military)campaign, and those who have been in prison in Eritrea since 1994.

The right to refuse to kill is recognised as part of the right to thought, conscience and religion, but many states ignore this. Conscientious objection is a nonviolent strategy against war, and the idea of conscientious objection has been used by those not subject to obligatory military service, in communities militarised in other ways. It's a way of reclaiming our own power, and taking a stand against war.

See a list of some of the events below. You can use the hashtag #CODay (o #díaOC en español) to spread the word about the day on social media.

You can use these sample tweets:

04 May 2016
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International delegation went to Diyarbakır and Cizre

WRI Delegation visiting Co-Mayor Gültan Kışanak in DiyarbakırWRI Delegation visiting Co-Mayor Gültan Kışanak in Diyarbakır“Europe has failed us”, is the bitter statement often heard in South East Turkey currently. “We thought that Europe stood for human rights and peace, but unlike when there was war in Turkey in the 1990s, nowadays nobody cares what is happening to us”. An international delegation has visited South East Turkey.

25 Apr 2016
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Original statement in Spanish

This year on the 22nd of March, the Bolivian Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (PCT) rejected the right of conscientious objection as an alternative to its obligatory military service. This has occurred in spite of the generally agreed-upon right to constitutional protection, brought to attention by 18-year-old objector Ignacio Orías Calvo, who claimed refuge under this fundamental right based on his religious beliefs.

This decision would not seem to follow the same logic of a government fostered by a constitution which, at least on paper, affirms that “Bolivia is a pacifist state, which promotes the Right to Peaceful Solutions and a Peaceful culture”. In actuality, what would appear to be a contradiction fits neatly within the patriarchal and militaristic confines that have characterized the Movement for Socialism of Bolivia (MAS), ever since its army first took root in the country. 

07 Apr 2016
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WRI's Egyptian affiliate NoMilService are working with a new conscientious objector, Samir Elsharbaty. Samir has requested his exemption from the service in March. You can find NoMilService's statement supporting him here.

07 Apr 2016
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Alongside other peace activists, WRI members from around Europe are in court in London from next Monday on trial for their disruption of the DSEI arms fair in September last year.
 
Anyone available to join us in solidarity in the Court next week, check out Stop The Arms Fair Facebook event for info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1716179711938981/
 
Use #stopDSEI to share you solidarity with Javier, Bram, Luis and others in the run up to their court appearance next week.