Conscientious objection

Cyprus: small step forward as constitutional court rules on conscientious objection

Related peace activists: 

The case of Murat Kanatli, a CO in Cyprus who declared his conscientious objection in 2009 and has since refused each year to participate in the annual compulsory military exercises in the northern part of Cyprus, has been heard in the Constitutional Court.

Support for Greek COs and European CO Report Launch

Hannah from the Right to Refuse to Kill programme was in Athens this month for the launch of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection's report on the status of conscientious objection in Europe.

New Human Rights Council resolution on CO

The United Nations Human Rights Council have passed a resolution on conscientious objection to military service. This is the first substantive resolution on the subject from the Council, and goes beyond previous resolutions from the Commission on Human Rights (which the Council replaced). It was adopted by consensus.

Conscientious objection to war work

We were glad to read recently of the declaration of Brandon Toy – a conscientious objector to war work. Previously a soldier, and now a 'defense contractor' with General Dynamics Land Systems, Toy's declaration says 'I have always believed that if every foot soldier threw down his rifle war would end. I hereby throw mine down.'

Brandon's position is a powerful reminder that conscientious objection goes far beyond military service, but can encompass rejection of involvement in war, and preparations for war, at many levels.

Conscientious objection to military service (Resolution 2013/24)

The Human Rights Council,

Bearing in mind that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,

COs freed in amnesty in Azerbaijan – to mark President's birthday...

Azerbaijan's two known imprisoned conscientious objectors – both Jehovah's Witnesses - have been freed as part of a prisoner amnesty to mark what would have been the late President Heydar Aliev's 90th birthday. Of the two known imprisoned conscientious objectors, Fakhraddin Mirzayev was amnestied on 22 May after eight months' imprisonment and Kamran Mirzayev (no relation) was amnestied on 20 June after three months' imprisonment.

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Tajikistan, adopted by the Committee at its 108th session (8–26 July 2013)


21. The Committee reiterates its previous concern (CCPR/CO/84/TJK, para 20) about the State party’s lack of recognition of the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service, and at the absence of alternatives to military service (art. 18).

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Finland, adopted by the Committee at its 108th session (8–26 July 2013)

14. While welcoming the legislative changes allowing for non-military services applications during mobilizations and serious disturbances and the fact that total objectors can be exempted from unconditional imprisonment, the Committee reiterates its concerns that the length of non-military service is almost twice the duration of the period of service for the rank and file and that the preferential treatment accorded to Jehovah’s Witnesses has not been extended to other groups of conscientious objectors (art. 18).

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