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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.orgFor CO-Alerts to be useful:

  • They should be about significant events e.g. imprisonments. They're generally not just for updates, and are more effective (and the action is more likely to be taken by subscribers) when a clear change in their situation has occurred. There are exceptions to this however – for example updates can be shared if a CO who has been the focus of a CO-Alert several times has finally been released, or exempted from military call-up.
  • There should be a useful action that can be taken. Can we write to a Judge who is assessing their case? Or an employer who has sacked them? Or an army officer in charge of the base where they are being held? It should be clear what action supporters can take in solidarity with the CO, and there should be good information about the appropriate person or people to contact to lobby, e.g. for their release from jail.
  • It should be certain that publicising their situation will not have a detrimental effect on the CO's situation. International attention can, in some cases, be counterproductive, and we'd like to avoid this! This might mean getting the permission of the CO themselves (it could be a good idea to discuss this in advance, in case a CO is not contactable, e.g. in prison), or when the situation is urgent and prior permission has not been obtained, the support group should assess the situation based on their knowledge of the CO's needs and views.

Please note that whilst this list is for conscientious objectors, we take a broad view of what this means. We are happy to sometimes use this list to support antimilitarist peace activists who are taking action against militarism in different ways.

Please write to co-alert-editor@wri-irg.org when you have information about a CO who needs our support. Thank you!

See recent CO-Alerts here: http://www.wri-irg.org/en/programmes/co_alerts