The last two weeks have been extremely busy in the WRI office. The hunger strike of imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad in Egypt (see article in this issue of CO-Update) demanded a lot of attention from the office, and we have been busy communicating with his supporters in Egypt, but also raising awareness internationally and mobilising support. While this has brought some results, we are still extremely worried about Maikel Nabil Sanad's life, and therefore ask you to support him.
For the second time, South Korea's Constitutional Court ruled on 30 August that the right to conscientious objection is not protected under the South Korean constitution. Almost exactly seven years after its first decision on the subject on 26 August 2004 (see CO-Update No 1, September 2004), the court ruled again with a majority of 7-2 that the country's military service act is constitutional.
Since 23 August, imprisoned pacifist blogger and conscientious objector Maikel Nabil Sanad is on hunger strike in protest against his continued imprisonment. On 30 August, he escalated his hunger strike to include a thirst strike.
Back in March 2009 we reported that the Kuwaiti government was planning to reintroduce conscription in Kuwait, after it had been suspended in 2001 (see CO-Update No 45, February/March 2009). Back then we reported that a draft conscription law should be passed by parliament by the end of 2009. This did not happen. The discussion resurfaced in summer 2010 (see CO-Update 58, August 2010), and it seems now a new law reintroducing conscription will be enacted shortly.
After Sweden ended conscription last year, the military seems to have problems to recruit enough soldiers. Sweden's chiefs-of-staff had to admit in August that they had erred in counting how many part-time recruits had signed up to Sweden's Armed Forces. The number was not 2,700 - as originally reported - but 300. In a report, the chiefs-of-staff admitted confusing the 300 actual recruits with the target of 2,700 for the period.
Since switching to a professional military, Sweden had set a goal of recruiting 6,600 new soldiers: 3,900 on a full-time basis and 2,700 part-time.
YLE.fi reported on 31 August that Finish total objectors might in future not be sent to prison for their refusal of military and substitute service, but might instead get house arrest. The change is possible due to a new law putting short-term convicts under house arrest. Finnish law enforcement officials plan to use electronic ankle bracelets to monitor convicts serving time at home.
“This is the first time that an option other than prison is made available to conscientious objectors,” says Kaj Raninen from the Finnish Union of Conscientious Objectors.
Organised by Justícia i Pau (Centre Delàs), Fundació per la Pau, War Resisters' International & the European Network Against Arms Trade.
This seminar will bring together representatives from organisations from all over the world that campaign against different forms and aspects of war profiteering – the reaping of financial benefits from conflict and war – for three days of mutual learning and network building.
In the previous month(s), the WRI office issued the following co-alerts:
(a full archive of co-alerts is available at wri-irg.org/news/alerts)
30 Aug 2011: EGYPT: Update: Imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad on hunger and thirst strike
25 Aug 2011: EGYPT: Imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad on hunger strike moved to solitary confinement