South Korea has been a constant in our co-update newsletter, and finally - after years - we have some good news to report: South Korea plans to legalise the right to conscientious objection (see leading article). However, it remains to be seen if this really materialises, with a possible change of government following elections in December.
An important step for the South Korean conscientious objection movement
With the announcement of the South Korean Ministry of Defence on 18 September 2007 that it is to allow conscientious objectors to do substitute services in a turnaround from its previous stance four months ago, the South Korean conscientious objection movement achieved an important victory.
While conscientious objection itself has a long history in South Korea, going back to 1939, for a long time it had been completely hidden from the public.
On 23 August 2007, the Human Rights Committee released a new General Comment on article 14 (Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to a fair trial) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). While this General Comment goes into great detail about almost every aspect of a trial - which is of no interest here - it also deals with the issue of repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors.
Using the UK Freedom of Information Act, War Resisters' International finally obtained the regulations governing the right to conscientious objection for the three branches of the British Armed Forces, in time to examine them for a counter-report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which will examine the United Kingdoms human rights record in its sessions in October 2007 and July 2008.
The regulations governing this right have so far not been publicly available, although War Resisters' International did make a le
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) will recruit its first batch of women soldiers today. Since its inception in 1977, the BDF has only been enlisting men as soldiers. But after the military was opened to women at cadet level, 1,238 applications were received for 30 positions. Out of these, 856 are university graduates.
The officer cadets will be taught basic military skills, drill and groom before they leave for their 12 months training at the Tanzania Military Academy in Monduli.