Young men from Chechnya are being drafted into Russia's armed forces for the first time in 20 years. Chechen youth stopped being drafted to the Russian Army in late 1994, when the Kremlin sent the military into Chechnya to try to crush its separatist leadership. Some are claiming the lack of recruitment in the North Caucasus since then was 'discriminatory' against Chechen youth who wanted to defend the Russian 'homeland' of which they are citizens, and that the move to start recruiting them again is therefore progressive, a sign of 'political success' and inclusivity, though it cannot be denied that Russia's shrinking population and other problems are leading to a shortfall in army recruitment.
Meanwhile the Russian government are threatening to imprison a Lithuanian who left the Sovietarmy in 1990, after Lithuania declared independence from Russia. As a response, the Lithuanian State Security Department has advised the 1500+ Lithuanians who refused military service after 1990 not to travel to Russia.
The Times, Russian threatens to jail hundreds of Lithuanians, 10 September 2014
Hardline haredi elements protested on Sunday morning against the arrest of yeshiva students who fail to present themselves when called up for army service, holding a small rally outside the Jerusalem draft office.
North Korean women aged 17 and over will face seven years’ military conscription, starting in January. According to revised military service laws to be announced soon, military service for males will be increased from 10 years to 11 years. The state originally considered increasing the period to 13 years but, taking into account the measure’s overall failure in the mid-1990s, decided instead to conscript women. The North is struggling to keep up the numbers in its military forces, which have totalled more than 1.2 million. A shortage of males born in the mid-1990s reflects the nationwide famine during which about 330,000 children died.
Trigger Warning: descriptions of bullying and torture. Two cases of extreme violence in the conscripted Korean military – one mass shooting and attempted suicide, one death by torture – have drawn public attention to the violence conscripts routinely face in the military, with 120 deaths a year occurring among them for the last five years.
Child Soldiers' International are taking the Ministry of Defence to judicial review over its discriminatory terms of service for those who enlist into the army as minors. These terms currently require minors to serve until they are 22, which could be 6 years for a soldier who enlisted at 16 compared to the four years' service required of those who enlist as adults.
Ukraine announced on Thursday (Aug 28) that it will return to mandatory conscription in the coming months as its troops battle pro-Russian insurgents in the east. "The National Security and Defence Council has decided to restart conscription in the fall (autumn)," Mykhailo Koval, deputy head of the council, said after an emergency meeting chaired by President Petro Poroshenko. Ukraine's government decided last year to switch to a contract-based professional army, ending Soviet-style bi-annual drafts in the spring and fall for men between 18 and 25. The last call-up into the Ukrainian armed forces, numbering 168,000 people in the beginning of 2014, was in October 2013 for a period of one year. In April the military announced partial mobilisation for people with military experience ahead of its operation in the east, where pro-Russian insurgents had declared two regions independent of Kiev's authority.
A small group of undocumented young immigrants have been given the right to apply for enlistment into the army as a fast-track to citizenship if their deportation has already been deferred under the DREAM act and they have special language skills.
More information on the DREAM Act can be found at: NNOMY
The question of conscientious objection has been brought to attention of the Colombian courts once more, via the case of one Julián Enrique Rojas Rincón who is arguing that his Christian pacifism makes military service unconscionable to him and that his right to conscientious objection is safeguarded in article 18 of the Colombian constitution which also protects medics from performing abortions where they feel this runs contrary to their interpretation of Christianity. Magistrate Jorge Pretelt has called on the military to form an 'interdisciplinary group' to asses Rojas' case. Source: Semana
It's now been 20 years since three Jehovah's Witnesses in Eritrea have been imprisoned. Paulos Eyassu, Negede Teklemariam and Isaac Mogos were arrested on September 24, 1994. In the early years of their detention they were subjected to severe treatment and torture in Sawa prison camp, but their ill-treatment has lessened in recent years. They have never been charged with any crime. At least thirteen other Jehovah's Witness COs are also detained in Sawa - it is likely to be many more.
A full archive of co-alerts is available at wri-irg.org/news/alerts. Since the last CO Update, we have issued the following co-alerts:
08 Oct 2014: FINLAND: Total objector Henri Sulku starts 173 days home detention
01 Oct 2014: ISRAEL: Repeated imprisonment of COs continues
17 Sep 2014: COLOMBIA: Constitutional court recognises Jhonatan as a CO - keep up the pressure for his release
11 Sep 2014: COLOMBIA: Conscientious objector arrested