Conscientious objection

Regression in Greece

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Over the past months, there has been a dramatic upswing in the persecution of conscientious objectors in Greece. All of those listed below have already been tried or imprisoned, some over twenty years ago, and they now face further legal action against them.

These cases include

OHCHR publishes 'Conscientious objection to military service'

The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights has published a guide to applicable international standards and jurisprudence relating to conscientious objection to military service.

It is designed as a guide for 'State officials who are responsible for implementing laws, administrative decrees or regulations relating to conscientious objection to military service, as well as Members of Parliament and Government officials who may be involved in drafting laws or administrative decrees or regulations on this subject.'

Natan Blanc: Why I will not join the Israeli military

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Natan Blanc is caught in a cat and mouse game with the Israeli authorities: he is being repeatedly released from prison, and then detained again after he refuses to be enlisted in the Israeli army. Here's why he's doing it:

Joint Public Statement - Greece: When will conscientious objectors stop being persecuted?

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New trial for 44 year-old conscientious objector by military court

Nikolaos Karanikas Solidarity 6 March 2013Nikolaos Karanikas Solidarity 6 March 2013

Conscientious Objection as a Strategy

Conscientious objection is perhaps more often seen as a moral imperative than as a strategy. However, in countries with active conscription, there can be different ways of avoiding or delaying military service. Some people gain a medical discharge. Others flee, emigrate, choose professions that are exempt from call up, or bribe officials.

Cyprus: Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, December 2012

Human Rights Council, Twenty-second session, Agenda item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt: Addendum - Mission to Cyprus


Find the full report on the website of the Office of the High Commission of Human Rights here.

Greek conscientious objector on trial for 'desertion'

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Nikos KaranikasNikos Karanikas


Update 14 June:

  • Nikos' trial has been postponed to 2 July


Update 11 June:

  • Nikos Karanikas was arrested in Thessaloniki again. He was later released, but will still be tried at a later date.


Amnesty International Israel calls for the release of conscientious objector Natan Blanc

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17 January 2013

Re: Prisoner of conscience Nathan Blanc

Dear Sir,

I am writing you about conscientious objector Nathan Blanc, who was first arrested on November 19th, 2012, due to his refusal to serve in the IDF, and has since served three terms of imprisonment.

Colombia: legal progress as the reality of daily violence continues

Andreas and Hannah from the Right to Refuse to Kill programme visited Colombia in November 2012 to meet new antimilitarist groups, reconnect with existing contacts, and to plan new ways in which WRI might provide useful forms of international accompaniment. Many of the groups we met are members of ANOOC - Asamblea Nacional de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia – a nationwide assembly of groups that work on conscientious objection.

Overcoming trauma - dealing with the memories from prison

The invisible prison after prison

Reading a newspaper recently, I came across the words of some young girls who left home: 'If I want to survive I should not trust people'. These are the exact words I repeatedly heard while I was in prison.

I didn't write after I got released. I wanted to, but it felt too hard. Although I sensed something simmering inside me, I was not able to figure out what it was. I felt helpless; I couldn't be bothered to do anything. I didn't want to meet people. Those were the times when I was obsessed with the thought of staying alone. I felt like I had forgotten how to have equal relationships. I was overwhelmed by the fear of how I would be accepted by others. I didn't do anything that might have caused loss to me either. I've asked myself if I am using the fact that I was in prison as an excuse to cover up who I really am. What if prison is not different from society at all, and I was just bewildered to be thrown out to the wild reality I had not recognised before?

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