After more than 50 years, Germany is finally suspending conscription (see main story). This shows that the trend to abolish conscription is still continuing in Europe, and it is likely that Austria and other countries will follow soon. From the Scandinavian countries, Sweden also abolished conscription this year, and in Denmark only a small proportion of those eligible for military service are called up. However, Finland still holds on to conscription, and it is unlikely that it will go soon.
After a very controversial debate (see for example CO-Update No 58, August 2010), the main party in the governing coalition, the Christian Democrats, agreed to a reform of the German Armed Forces on Sunday, 26 September. This includes the suspension of conscription, and - as a consequence - also of substitute service. Only very recently, military service had been reduced from nine to six months - a change which only took effect on 1 July 2010 (see CO-Update No 55, April 2010).
The central Asian republic of Turkmenistan passed a new law on military duty and military service, which reduces the upper age limit for military from 30 to 27 years. The age of conscription remains at 18 years. According to the State News Agency of Turkmenistan, this legislative document provides the definition of the notion of the armed forces and other military divisions, the authorities and official duties of the management staff of the abovementioned bodies in compliance with the provisions of the Military Doctrine of Turkmenistan.
The Inland Revenue is threatening War Resisters' International with the seizure of assets because the pacifist organisation is withholding a proportion of income tax due to its conscientious objection to paying for war.
War Resisters' International has been withholding tax – usually about 7% of income tax, roughly the proportion of the military budget – since the tax year 2002/03. In its regular letters to the Inland Revenue, the organisation states:
The No to War – No to NATO Activist Conference will be embedded in the conference of the Portuguese organisation “CULTURA”. The CULTURA conference will take place at ISCTE (Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa) of the University of Lisbon. The location of the Action Conference will be announced shortly.
See for more information: http://wri-irg.org/node/11050
Mark the dates: the WRI Council meeting 2011 will take place during the time of the action camp at the camp itself in Luleå in the north of Sweden. At present, the dates penciled in for the Council are 19-21 July 2011, followed by a seminar organised by/with ofog, and then training and action...
More information on the WRI Council meeting, and also on the seminar, will be available closer to the time. But please keep the dates free...
Please contact the WRI office for more information:
War Resisters' International
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX, Britain