The last months have been a time of increased emergency activities - the list of co-alerts at the end of this issue is therefore unusually long. And alerts were necessary in cases ranging from Colombia, over Germany and Finland to Turkey (see main article on the right). These developments show the need for an effective international alert system, and we would like to encourage everyone to subscribe to our co-alert email list, and to take part in the alert system.
18 months after the ECHR judgement, Osman Murat Ülke is ordered back to prison
On 24 January 2006, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of Turkish conscientious objector Osman Murat Ülke. In short: Osman Murat Ülke complained that he had been prosecuted and convicted on account of his convictions as a pacifist and conscientious objector.
Eritrea's annual batch of conscripts have begun their compulsory military training, officials said on 5 July, boosting what is already estimated to be the largest army in sub-Saharan Africa. Teenagers from across the country have been sent to the Sawa Military Training Centre in western Eritrea to "fulfil their national obligation", a statement on the information ministry website said.
According to an article in The Local, Swedish Defence Minister Mikael Odenberg questions the need for peacetime conscription in Sweden. Conscription should instead be reserved for times of war, he said in an interview with Svenska Dagbladet.
Wartime conscription should also be applicable for women as well as men, he added. Military service in its current form is only compulsory for men. The length of military service is 7.5 months, between 10 and 15 months for officers, and between 18 and 20 months for those serving in the navy.
"Compulsory military service for women may be introduced already in the next parliamentary period, says Defence Minister Anne-Grete Stroem-Erichsen to NRK. In her opinion, the present system for national service is outdated, and she is working to make system gender neutral.
The proposed new law covering general conscription for both men and women will be presented to Parliament (Storting) next spring.
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] TK9900-310707: TURKEY: Court defies judgement of European Court of Human Rights in Ülke case, Tue Jul 31 14:29:57 GMT 2007
[co-alert] FIN11366-240707: FINLAND: Total objector Antti Rautiainen imprisoned,
The annual WRI seminar and Council meeting will take place in Israel in 2007,from 23-26 August. The theme of the seminar will be on militarism and gender.
The Gender and Militarism Seminar will bring together activists and academics from all over the world to study the mutual connections between militarism and gender. The seminar is organised by War Resisters' International together with the Israeli feminist antimilitarist movement New Profile, and will be followed by the annual meeting of the WRI International Council.