Conscientious objection

OHCHR report to Human Rights Committee on COs

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has presented its quadrennial analytical report on conscientious objection to military service to the UN Human Rights Council.

The report looks at new developments, best practice and remaining challenges in terms of CO to military service. It is a good way of discovering the status of conscientious objection around the world today.

A number of NGOs and campaigning organisation made submissions in the formulation of the report, which can be downloaded below.

More persecution of COs in Greece

As we reported in the previous CO Update, conscientious objectors in Greece have been subject to new cycles of detention and trial since the beginning of the year. Last time, we reported on the situations of Nikos Karanikas, Charalabos Akrivopoulos, Menelaos Exioglou and Dimitris Sotiropulos.

Natan Blanc becomes Israel's most imprisoned CO, and is then released

Those of you on our CO-Alert email list will have been aware of the situation of Natan Blanc. After ten imprisonments, Israeli CO Natan Blanc was exempted from military service. The Israeli military's Exemption Committee declared Natan unfit for duty on 30th May, six months after he initially reported to the induction centre and declared his refusal.

Armenia: possible end to the jailing of COs

Armenia's Ministry of Justice has presented to parliament amendments to provide for a substitute 'civilian' service. These have now passed all their readings, and therefore the amendments to the 2003 Alternative Service Law and to the 2003 Law on Implementing the Criminal Code should be enacted.

Recent CO-alerts

In the previous month(s), the WRI office issued the following co-alerts:

(a full archive of co-alerts is available at

Conscientious objection: today and tomorrow

The Broken Rifle No. 96, May 2013

Vengeance will be ours - message from Britain First, a right-wing militarist group in BritainVengeance will be ours - message from Britain First, a right-wing militarist group in Britain

In London on 22nd May, a soldier walking back to his barracks was killed by two people armed with knives. The soldier was a white member of the British army, the attackers black men of the Muslim faith.

The response, witnessed on social and mainstream media, as well as in streets, buses and pubs, has included a torrent of racist, Islamophobic and nationalistic abuse. I noticed with sadness that a friend of mine 'shared' a post on social media from a group called Britain First that read: 'THEY'VE KILLED ONE OF OUR BOYS IN WOOLWICH...KICK THE BASTARDS OUT NOW'.

A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System launched

Empowering conscientious objectors to take advantage of human rights mechanisms

We're extremely happy to announce the launch of 'A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System'. This is an update of 'A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the UN Human Rights System', published in 2000, and covers the multitude of developments that have taken place in terms of human rights and conscientious objection since then.

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