We are sorry for the slight delay of this co-update e-newsletter, but we are just back from the WRI/New Profile seminar on gender and militarism in Newe Shalom/Wahat-al-Salam in Israel, and the WRI Council meeting. In one of the next issues, we will publish a report on the seminar, but for now all we can say is that we enjoyed it a lot, and enjoyed meeting with many activists from Israel, Palestine, and from all over the world.
The last months saw a new wave of imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Turkmenistan, after about two years of relative calm. Forum 18-News reported on 31 August that a fifth Jehovah's Witnesses conscientious objector is now about to be prosecuted.
The "libreta militar" was also subject to a decision of the Constitutional Court in Colombia on 15 August. Here it was not about the legality of the card itself, but about the payment for the "libreta militar".
The proposal by oppositional Taiwanese presidential candidate Ma Ying-yeou to phase out conscription in Taiwan and turn the Taiwanese military into an all-volunteer military by 2014 met with careful agreement from the Ministry of Defense of the country, and sparked a debate about conscription.
"The biggest advantage of an all-volunteer force is that the majority of male citizens of conscriptable age won't be drafted.
Finish Minister of Labour Tarja Cronberg (Greens), who is responsible for the administration of civilian service, is proposing to shorten the length of civilian service from 13 months to 11 months. She also wants to introduce mandatory refresher courses for reservist civilian servicemen.