Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan is on hunger strike for more than 32 days today, and War Resisters' International is very concerned about his health, and long-term health consequences this hunger strike might have. We therefore urge you to make your protest heard with the Turkish authorities, to fulfill Mehmet Tarhan's demands, so that he, and his friend Ali, can end their hunger strike.
Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan is fast approaching the completion of the fifth week of his hunger strike (see CO-Update No 14, October 2005). Mehmet Tarhan began this second hunger strike after a new incident of maltreatment and abuse.
Antimilitarists in Bosnia and Hercegovina recently were suprised by an unexpected victory: conscription in the country will formally end on 1 January 2006, and in practice conscription has already ended. The end of conscription is part of a bigger defence reform in the country, passed by parliament on 5 October. The reform includes the reduction of the size of the Armed Forces to about 10,000, the abolishment of separate Defence Ministries for the two entities ("the Federation" and Republika Srpska), and in general will move the Bosnian military closer to NATO standards.
Romania is the next country in South-East Europe to follow the trend to end conscription. In Romania too this is part of a project to modernise the military, and has little to do with disarmament. According to a report by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Bucharest has agreed to transform its army from a Wassaw Pact mammoth into a lean, mobile force that is compatible with NATO's needs. Romania joined NATO in 2004, and also has troops in Iraq as part of the Coalition of the Willing.
According to a report by Xinhua, the Chinese Armed Forces are due to start their winter recruitment on 1 November 2005, according to an order jointly issued by the State Council and the Central Military Commission.
It urges governments and military recruitment departments at different levels to take it as a serious political task and ensure a completion of the recruitment.
Those who are qualified to be recruited by the Army include rural youth with the least educational background of junior middle and urban youngsters with a schooling of high school or even higher.
The War Resisters' International was formed in reaction to the senseless slaughter of World War I with a mission not only to oppose all war but also to strive to eradicate its causes. This ambitious programme introduced a new and political dimension to the existing moral and religious basis of pacifism. It attracted some of the best pacifist thinkers and activists from around the world - George Lansbury, Bertrand Russell, Bayard Rustin, Martin Niemoeller, Danilo Dolci, and Mahatma Gandhi.
In the previous month, the WRI office issued the following co-alerts:
(a full archive of co-alerts is available at wri-irg.org/news/alerts)
[co-alert] ISR14754-201005: ISRAEL: Shaul Mograbi-Berger sentenced to fourth prison term Concodoc at WRI, Thu Oct 20
[co-alert] COL14765-131005: COLOMBIA: Conscientious objector forced to serve in the military Concodoc at WRI,