This month, we take the opportunity of the CO Update to draw attention to Prisoners for Peace day and urge our readers to write to the prisoners on the list, some of whom have been in prison for over twenty years.
Each year on 1st December, War Resisters' International and its members mark Prisoners for Peace Day , when we make known the names and stories of those imprisoned for taking action for peace. This day isa chance to demonstrate your support for them. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war. There were some changes in the Prisoners for Peace list from previous years.
WRI reports on the first ever international week of action for military free education and research, following last year’s day of action. Read about the actions that took place in Canada, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, the US, South Korea and Belgium, as well as the Call to Action signed by 26 peace groups around the world here.
European Court opinion says ex-U.S. soldier could claim EU asylum, which could in turn broaden claim rights to people who face punishment for refusing military service. Read more here if you can get behind the pay wall, or here for German.
The Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, has announced that the option of a paid exemption to military service will be brought in in 2015, a move which has been criticised for discriminating against poorer Turkish men of ‘military age’. The required pay-off would be TL 18,000 ($8,103). Read more here.
Activists from the Conscientious Objection Initiative in northern Cyprus were violently arrested on 15th November for unfurling a banner reading "Our duty to our country is peace, Conscientious Objection is our right” during a military parade. Read more here. An MP has criticised the police for using disproportionate force and showing political partiality, and has affirmed Conscientious Objection as a human right. Read more
Conscription begins in Chechnya after a 20-year respite. The Russian army stopped calling up conscripts in the area in the nineties, though without an official order to cease the practice being issued. The fact that Chechen youth are now being called up is being hailed by some as a move towards inclusiveness. Read more here.
North Korea looks set to extend its already ten year military service requirement of young men, which is the longest military service requirement of any country in the world. Conscripts are currently being encouraged to serve an additional year ‘voluntarily’ at the end of their compulsory ten (seven for women). Reports continue of the poor treatment and conditions of conscripts during service. Read more here
A human rights group in Tajikistan has urged the government to compensate families of army conscripts killed in hazing incidents. At least two conscripts have been killed and one left paralysed in bullying incidents this year. In June, a Tajik Army sergeant was sentenced to nine years in jail for beating a conscript to death during a hazing incident in the northern Khujand Province. The group also said that raids across Tajikistan to round up young men avoiding conscription have decreased in frequency but continue. Two years of military ser
The ‘libreta militar’ (military booklet), will no longer be required to graduate from university in Colombia, meaning that those who have not completed military service will now be able to receive their degrees. However, libreta militars are still required for the enjoyment of many other rights. For example, you are still require a libreta military to work in many jobs. When batidas (forced recruitment raids) occur, it is those without a libreta militar i.e.
Myanmar has released 80 child soldiers from military services and they were handed back to their parents. The 80 minors constitute the 8th batch freed by the army since 2012. Myanmar’s armed forces last released 109 child soldiers from military service in Yangon in September this year. The latest release has brought the total number of minors discharged from military service to 553. Under a programme of protecting under-age children from military service, Myanmar signed an 18-month action plan with the UN’s Country Task Force on Monitoring and Report
Eight of Turkmenistan's nine known imprisoned prisoners of conscience jailed for exercising freedom of religion or belief were released under presidential amnesty. Six were conscientious objectors to military service and two had been imprisoned on fabricated charges to punish them for exercising their freedom of