Approaching prisoners for peace day, reading about the state of conscientiousness objection and conscription in different places in the world, it's sad to see that more than 60 years after the founding of the “Prisoners For Peace Day”, it is still so relevant.
In the past few months there have been small advancements, such as Ukraine’s high court and South Korea's lower courts recognizing the right to CO, Yiannis Glarnetatzis, a Jehovah Witness from Greece found innocent (though only for procedural reasons) and gay people in Turkey being able to be released from army service without going through humiliating check-ups.
It's very visible in this CO Update that militarisation of one country effects the entire region. Whether it's eastern European countries that, in fear of Russia, prolong conscription, like Lithuania, or talk about reintroducing conscription, like Latvia. Or whether it's the civil war in Syria that has caused different authorities in the area to enforce recruitment in order to fight each other.
In some countries, people are finding creative ways to evade the draft rather than declaring their object to serve in the army. Examples inclide people in South Korea dropping their citizenship or tattooing their body, Syrians seeking refuge in Europe, and Kurds from Syria moving to Iraq.
I certainly hope that by next year there will be no more prisoners for peace, but in the meantime, write a letter, and support these people who acted against war sacrificing their own freedom.