Conscientious objection

EBCO REPORT: Conscientious objection to military service in Europe 2014

Istanbul, October 2014, Researcher: Derek Brett
The researching of this report was enabled by a grant from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, York, UK.

FOREWORD by Friedhelm Schneider, EBCO President
In 2014 we are looking back to numerous commemoration events which – often in a military-centered perspective – focus on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection and its member organisations have been involved in a series of activities, exhibitions etc. which draw the public attention to those who resisted war and to the history of the peace movement over the following century. Moreover there were other anniversaries, such as the beginning of World War II and the conscientious objectors and deserters related to it. EBCO’s spring meeting in Brussels was marked by the 50 years of the recognition of conscientious objection in Belgium, the leading person of which had been EBCO’s former President Jean van Lierde.

Solidarity protests held for conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanlı

Conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanlı was imprisoned on 4th December in northern Cyprus for refusing to undertake reserve military service. International actions were held on Tuesday 9th December 2014 in Athens, Istanbul, Nicossia and London. See photos from all the actions here. The Initiative for Conscientious Objection in Cyprus said 'In the northern part of Cyprus, the military service and annual reserve army practice are compulsory for male citizens above 18. The militarization of the island is not limited to the compulsory army service and reserve service; the civilians are being tried at the military court, the police is under the control of the Turkish army, there are lessons taught by soldiers in schools, and the cities and rural areas are under the direct physical invasion of the Turkish army which is ongoing for the last 40 years.'


Detener batidas: comunicado de la Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra a la Defensora del Pueblo Regional Antioquia

Carta de la Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra (IRG) a Defensoria y Personaria de Antioquia y Medellín, diciembre 2014


La Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra (IRG) trabaja por un mundo sin guerras. Somos una red global antimilitarista y pacifista, con más de ochenta organizaciones en más de cuarenta países. Desde 1921 apoyamos y conectamos la gente del todo el mundo que se niega a participar en la guerra y que usa la acción noviolenta para abordar las causas de la guerra. Mantenemos el compromiso con nuestro principio fundacional de que la guerra es un crimen contra la humanidad. La International de Resistentes a la Guerra tiene estatus consultivo en el Consejo Económico y Social de las Naciones Unidas.

9 December 2014: Solidarity with Haluk Selam Tufanlı: events in Athens, Istanbul, Nicossia, London

Conscientious objector Haluk Selam Tufanlı has been imprisoned in northern Cyprus for refusing to undertake reserve military service. International actions were held on Tuesday 9th December 2014, in Athens, Istanbul, Nicossia and London.


You can also protest in writing to the authorities in Northern Cyprus. Find all the details here (including an email alert): NORTHERN CYPRUS: Haluk Selam Tufanlı imprisoned

Support Prisoners for Peace today

Each year on 1st December War Resisters' International and its members mark Prisoners for Peace Day, when we make known the names and stories of those imprisoned for taking action for peace. This day is a chance to demonstrate your support for them.

There are some changes in this list from previous years. In October, all but one Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors in Turkmenistan were freed from Seydi Labour Camp. This is great news for those people. However, it does not mean that COs who are not Jehovah's Witnesses will not be imprisoned in future, and conscription itself is still in full flow.

U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd: European Court of Justice Advocate General Reinforces Rights of Refusers

Related peace activists: 

by Connection e.V. and Pro Asyl

In the legal case of U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd (37) the European Court of Justice Advocate General, Eleanor Sharpston, today published her final opinion. This official statement contains guiding deliberations for the interpretation of the so-called Qualification Directive of the European Union.

Nota de prensa sobre el debate de control político a ministerio de defensa por la práctica de detenciones arbitrarias

El martes 7 de octubre se llevó a cabo un debate de control político, citado por el representante Alirio Uribe Muñoz en la Comisión 2da de Cámara y la representante Ana Paola Agudelo, representante por los colombianos en el exterior. El debate se realizó con el objetivo de buscar una respuesta oficial del Ministerio de Defensa, ante las numerosas denuncias presentadas en Bogotá y distintas regiones del país, sobre la realización de detenciones arbitrarias con fines de reclutamiento (batidas) por parte del Ejército Nacional, omitiendo abiertamente lo establecido por la Corte Constitucional en la Sentencia C-879/11 y vulnerando numerosos derechos fundamentales de cientos de jóvenes en el país.

Se presentaron numerosas y contundentes pruebas de la realización de este tipo de operativos y las graves implicaciones que estos conllevan para los jóvenes. Un documento con más de 900 casos denunciados, videos, notas de prensa, testimonios y denuncias formales se exhibieron durante el debate[1]. Una vez expuesta la práctica, la pregunta para el Ministro de Defensa y los altos mandos del Ejército fue sencilla: ¿Van a seguir realizando este tipo de procedimientos?

Quotes from WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth conference: Resistance

Back to the Contents of the book

I as Director of the Vocational Training Centre for former Child Soldiers implemented programmes for UNICEF including how to get children who were caught up in the war back into the mainstream of life – to get them back into school or vocational activities...Reduce or eliminate all sort of inequalities and violence will be reduced. If there is no violence, there would be no need for child soldiers... - Domino Frank Suleiman, Liberia

Special Focus on Conscientious Objection in South Korea

Article in The Broken Rifle No 53, November 2003 as part of the South Korean Prisoners for Peace issue.

Jung-min Choi

Only early in 2001 the concept of "objection to military service" became known to the Korean public. A current affairs magazine reported on a forum on the military service system, including the right to conscientious objection. It especially reported on the history of Jehovah's Witnesses CO. Since the formation of the Korean army, over 10,000 objectors (mostly Jehovah's Witnesses) have spent time behind bars. The public has treeted them as nonexistent.

Insumision: a question of state

Article in The Broken Rifle No 30, December 1994 as part of the Prisoners for Peace issue.

MOC- Zaragoza

In 1971, Pepe Beunza made history as the first modern Spanish conscientious objector; today he visits prisons to support young objectors who refuse the alternative service which Pepe demanded. With more objectors than conscripts in parts of the state, and with alternative service in administrative chaos, is the Spanish model of massive disobedience to conscription now on the verge of success? TOMAS SANCHO of the Movimiento de Objecion de Conciencia (MOC) Zaragoza explains how the strategy of total resistance has continued to adapt.

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