Right to Refuse to Kill

15th May: Today is International Conscientious Objection day

Conscientious objection means refusing to be co-opted into militarism. It means naming armies and organised violent groups for what they really are, and often being at risk of imprisonment and social stigma for doing so.

It also means joining in an internationalist movement, which is organising nonviolently towards societies free from war and oppression. This work is made more possible by solidarity across borders - and that's where you come in!

TURKEY: Jail Term for Conscientious Objector Onur Erden

Conscientious objector Onur Erden has been sentenced to 10 months in prison on charge of deserting mandatory military service. Erden will go to prison if the penalty is approved by the Military Supreme Court.

Trials of conscientious objectors Onur Erden and Uğur Gültekin, who were pending a trial without arrest on charge of deserting mandatory military service, were heard by Gelibolu 2nd Corps Commandership Military Court.

ISRAEL: Refusers Tamar Ze'evi, Tamar Alon and Jalaa Zaher released, Atalia Ben-Abba imprisoned again

Atalia Ben-AbbaAtalia Ben-AbbaIsraeli conscientious objectors Tamar Alon and Tamar Ze'evi, who declared their refusal to serve in the IDF and take part in the occupation on 16th November 2016, were freed after each spending more than 100 days behind bars.

COLOMBIA: Conscientious objector Diego Blanco illegally recruited


Conscientious Objector Diego Fernando Blanco López from Colombia has been illegally recruited by the Colombian army, despite his right to postpone as a student. He is currently being forced to serve in the Grupo de Caballeria Mecanicado No 4 Juan de Corral of the Colombian Army in Rionegro, Antioquia.

WRI submits information for a new UN report on conscientious objection to military service

In February, War Resisters' International responded to a request for information from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on conscientious objection to military service, towards a quadrennial analytical report on conscientious objection to military service that will be presented to the Human Rights Council.

Updated information on conscription and conscientious objection to military service in Greece and Eritrea

War Resisters' International maintains a unique resource, the World survey of conscription and conscientious objection to military service: a database of country profiles and information on the situation for COs and conscripts around the world. This is updated on a rolling basis, and we have recently revised our report on Greece.

Click here to read it.

Guidelines for making use of WRI's email alert system for conscientious objectors: CO-Alerts

War Resisters' International has a CO-Alert system that we use to pressure authorities across the world where conscientious objectors (COs) face persecution.

Hundreds of subscribers receive an email, and they use an email template (here's an example) to protest the treatment of COs to the relevant authorities, for example asking for their release from forced recruitment or imprisonment.

Our information about CO-Alerts come from grassroots activists supporting COs, and we rely on their information. We'd love to hear from you when you know there is a CO at risk, or facing repression, so that we can use CO-Alerts to spread news of their situation amongst pacifist supporters around the world, and to campaign for their improved treatment. You can write to us in any language, but we can reply in English, Spanish or Turkish. Write to us at co-alert-editor@wri-irg.org

EBCO: The Greek Government should fulfil its promises concerning conscientious objectors' human rights

European Bureau of Conscientious Objection held its spring General Assembly last week at the Peace House in Brussels. he meeting was attended by WRI and COs and activists from  Belgium, Catalonia, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Turkey, and the UK. The EBCO Board repeated its call to the Greek Government to keep its promises to address shortcomings in its legislation and procedures regarding conscientious objection to military service.

In November 2016, an EBCO delegation, headed by Vice-President Sam Biesemans, met the Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr. Dimitrios Vitsas in Athens. As reported by EBCO delegation, the Deputy Minister recognised the existing problems and expressed the intention to present to the parliament a draft law specifically on conscientious objection. In its press release, EBCO Board stated that they will “carefully monitor the process”. They are also offering their assistance to the Greek authorities in bringing their conscientious objection provisions  into line with European and international human rights standards.

Read EBCO's statement here: http://www.ebco-beoc.org/node/421

Update: Israeli conscientious objectors

Atalia Ben-Abba is an imprisoned Israeli conscientious objectorAtalia Ben-Abba is an imprisoned Israeli conscientious objectorAfter 115 days of imprisonment, Israeli conscientious objector Tamar Ze'evi has had her objection to military service recognised, and has been granted CO status as a political refuser. However, conscientious objectors Atalia Ben-Abba and Tamar Alon have been imprisoned again for their refusal to take part in the occupation and serve in the IDF. This is Atalia's second, and Tamar's sixth imprisonment, and each will spend 30 days more behind bars. Click here send a protest email to the Israeli authorities.

Along with our email alert, you can also send your solidarity messages to Atalia and Tamar. Use this link to write them and your messages will be passed on.

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