Editorial

en

This CO-Update contains much conscription to-ing and fro-ing. Kazakhstan and Ukraine are set to abolish the draft, whilst Taiwan delays the cessation of their conscription - for lack of troops.

The delay and occasional u-turn in government policy around conscription can create insecurity for conscientious objectors. One country that seems unlikely to move away from conscription anytime soon is Greece. WRI continues to work alongside the Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors, who are working in a climate in which 95% of those whom they have counselled through the application process to be granted CO status have been rejected. There is a strong military presence in the advisory committee that makes recommendations about COs - and anyway, how can anyone judge another's conscience?

A new resolution from the UN Human Rights Council will give those organisations, including WRI, that support COs like those in Greece additional resources with which to hold governments to account. This might include the government in the northern part Cyprus, whose constitutional court has this month ruled that the unavailability of a substitute to military service constitutes an interference with the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion safeguarded in the Article 23 of the Constitution.

Switzerland's September referendum showed public support for conscription continuing, meanwhile WRI affiliates in Finland are putting their energies into a petition calling on the end of conscription in Finland. It's called simply "It's Over".

Finally, a reminder that conscientious objection to militarism is not constrained to rejection of the armed forces. Brandon Toy, an American former soldier who went on to work with General Dynamics in Iraq. He said 'Some will say that I am being irresponsible, impractical, and irrational. Others will insist that I am crazy. I have come to believe that the true insanity is doing nothing.'

Hannah Brock

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