With co-update No 25, we are back on track with our release schedule, and we hope to keep it that way for a while now.
Today is Prisoners for Peace Day (see below), and we published our Prisoners for Peace issue of The Broken Rifle a few weeks ago. This morning, I also did an interview with Colourful Radio's Colourful Morning programme.
The Human Rights Committee, considered the periodical report of the Republic of Korea during its 88th session this year. The official report of the government of Korea gives some insights into the situation of conscientious objectors in the country. According to the report, the "development of nuclear weapons by North Korea poses a serious threat to the existence and security of the Republic of Korea.
Another country scrutinised by the Human Rights Committee in its 88th session was the Ukraine, where the right to conscientious objection is only recognised for religious reasons. The Ukrainian government explains in its report: "Since military service is compulsory in Ukraine, the question of replacing such service by alternative (civilian) service is regulated by the State.
Romania is the latest country which finally ended conscription. The transformation into fully professionalised forces in order to comply with NATO standards had been planned for some time. Since the 1990s, the size of the Romanian armed forces and the number of conscripts had been reduced significantly. In 2003 the Constitution was in fact amended in order to allow for the abolition of conscription.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times from 25 November 2006, the Indian military is short of about 12,000 officers in the army. Chief of Army Staff General Joginder Jaswant Singh said: "The reason for shortage of officers is because of new units coming up such as Rashtriya Rifles, which have to be manned by officers from regular army. As a result, there is a redirection of officers in the combat units".
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)
COL14911-241106: COLOMBIA: Conscientious objector Carlos Andrés Giraldo Hincapié in the hands of the military Concodoc project, Fri Nov 24 ISR14905-14909-091106: ISRAEL: Two conscientious objectors on second prison term
1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day: Focus on Russia
Prisoners for Peace Day 2006 will highlight the situation in Russia, with the new NGO law threatening the work of independent NGOs and the war in Chechnya also leading to increased persecution in Russia itself. The Prisoners for Peace campaign pack will be available early November in English, Spanish, French, and German.