Welcome to this summer issue of CO-Update. And summer it is while we are putting this issue together - with more than 30C in London.
But it also seems to be summer in terms of news. Since the last issue of CO-Update, we received very little news on developments regarding conscientious objection, military recruitment or conscription.
The next issue of CO-Update will appear early September - we skip August, due to holidays.
Substitute service still 1.5 times longer than military service
On 1 April 2009, Switzerland finally abolished the examination of the conscience of applicants for conscientious objection. Before 1 April 2009, a personal interview took place with a commission. Its members were civilians who had been selected and appointed by the Ministry. If the application is rejected, there is a right of appeal to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Those who applied before 1 April 2009, but have not been recognised by 31 March 2009, will be recognised without personal interview.
Denmark's "Defence Commission", which has been set up in 2007 to provide direction to the government's 2010-14 National Defense Plan, advocates retaining conscription, but recommends a broad debate "into the future value" of conscription, so a report released in March 2009. The commission's report calls for defense spending be increased by 10 to 15 percent to accommodate a rapid expansion of Denmark's land forces and important equipment procurement programmes.
The Iranian parliament (Majlis) has passed a new bill to cut military service in the country by 2 to 10 months for conscripts with university degrees, Iranian Press TV reported on 30 June 2009. Presently, military service lasts generally 18 months, but there are shorter terms for college graduates.
According to the latest Majlis ratification, military service for conscripts with a PHD falls 10 months. Master and bachelor graduates will serve 8 and 6 months lesser respectively.
Yesh Gvul reported on 26 June that three of its members - Micha Rachman, Mordechai Zeldon and Peretz Kidron - have been summoned to interrogation by the Israeli police. The alleged grounds for the investigation is the suspicion that the group and its members engage in "incitement to evade military service", do so consistently and "promise financial incentives" to that end.
Since its foundation in 1921, the work for prisoners for peace – imprisoned conscientious objectors and peace activists – has been a central part of the work of War Resisters' International.
1 December has been Prisoners for Peace Day since 1957. Take some time – not only on 1 December – Prisoners for Peace Day – to write letters to prisoners (see the included list).
Nonviolent Livelihood Struggle and Global Militarism: links & strategies