Our apologies for the lateness of this issue of co-update, which should have been with you almost three weeks ago. This was due to a combination of other commitments, holidays, and sick leave of the staffperson responsible for the production of co-update. We therefore decided to make this issue a double issue, so the next co-update will only come out in early April.
The United Nations' Human Rights Committee passed a landmark decision on the right to conscientious objection when deciding on the individual complaints of two Korean conscientious objectors at its 88th session on October/November 2006.
In its decision, the Human Rights Committee concluded that the Republic of Korea had violated the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR when denying the two applicants their right to conscientious objection.
On 27 and 28 January 2007, an international conference on conscientious objection took place at Bilgi university in Istanbul. The conference was organised by a small conference committee, and supported by Amnesty International Turkey, Connection e.V., European Bureau for Conscientious Objectors, Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, Human Rights Watch, Istanbul Branch Human Rights Association, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, War Resisters' International, and others.
The Croatian government is discussing the suspension of conscription, and the transformation of the Croation military into a fully professional force. However, "this not the question of canceling conscription as a legal category, but implementing a new institution", said the Defence Minister Berislav Roncevic, adding if the need arises, in case of unpredictable situations, mandatory conscription will be reactivated. In related news it was reported that the Croatian Armed Forces are ready to deploy troops to Lebanon.
Recent news reports from Russia point to links between militarism and the sex industry which have been previously not been noticed by feminists and antimilitarists alike. According to the Soldiers' Mothers of St Petersburg, young male recruits of a military unit in St Petersburg were forced into prostitution by their older peers. “Instead of having a well-earned rest, young recruits are ordered up by phone and delivered nightly to their top-ranking clients — including army generals,” said Ella Polyakova, head of the St.
According to an article in the Lebanese Daily Star, "Civil War-era military conscription has officially been relegated to the annals of Lebanese history. On February 10, the Lebanese Army officially became an all-volunteer force. Law 665/2005, which officially ended conscription in Lebanon, was passed by Parliament two years ago but did not wholly take effect until Saturday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an army spokesperson told The Daily Star on Monday that 'from this day on' the army would replenish its ranks with volunteers."
15 May - International Conscientious Objectors' Day
International Conscientious Objectors' Day 2007 will focus on the situation of conscientious objection in Colombia. Already in April 2007, several groups of Colombian objectors will tour Western Europe to help to build and strengthen a support network for Colombian objectors. The central activities for International Conscientious Objectors' Day will take place in Medellin, Colombia, around 15 May 2007.