Right to Refuse to Kill

War Resisters' International's programme The Right to Refuse to Kill combines a wide range of activities to support conscientious objectors individually, as well as organised groups and movements for conscientious objection.

Our main publications are CO-Alerts (advocacy alerts sent out whenever a conscientious objector is prosecuted) and CO-Updates (a bimonthly look at developments in conscientious objection around the world).

We maintain the CO Guide - A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System, which can help COs to challenge their own governments, and protect themselves from human rights abuses.

Information about how nation states treat conscientious objectors can be found in our World Survey of Conscientious Objection and recruitment.

More info on the programme is available here.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recently issued a report on the human rights situation in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

The report covers the human rights developments in the region from 22 February 2014 to 12 September 2017. As well as various other issues, it also covers rights violations in relation to ongoing military conscription by the Russian armed forces.

The newly elected Bermudian Government is planning to end military conscription, a government official revealed at a speech last month.

Speaking on behalf of the new Progressive Labour Party government, Governor John Rankin said: “The Government will amend the Defence Act 1965 in consultation with the Governor to officially end conscription to the Royal Bermuda Regiment within this legislative session.”

International Conscientious Objection Day was marked on Monday 15th May by antimilitarists around the world, celebrating those who have - and those who continue - to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.

It’s a day when we celebrate refusal, disobedience, and everything that says no to militarism. But also a day when we say yes to nonviolence, solidarity, and reclaiming our bodies and communities for coexistence!

On 22nd June, the Turkish government issued a new law decree (during the ongoing state of emergency), which allows the immediate conscription of those who were found to be members of, or in relation to, terrorist organisations.

Adding an article to the Military Service law, the decree law numbered 691 says “those who are members or have a relation to terrorist organisations or organisations that participate in actions against the state’s national security … will be taken under arms [sent to perform military service].”

Recent updates from South Korea increase our hopes for the recognition of the right to conscientious objection in the country. Since our latest update in May, three more conscientious objectors, who had been indicted for their refusal to serve in the military, have been found not guilty by their district court. Meanwhile, the Government and the President Moon Jae-in, who promised to introduce an alternative civilian service during his election campaign, keep being pressurised by human rights groups for the recognition of the right.

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has banned Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia on the grounds that they are an extremist organisation. The liquidation ruling, made on 20th April 2017 and upheld on 17th July 2017, means that the Jehovah's Witness Administrative Centre and all 395 regional organisations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are subject to liquidation, and their property can now be seized by the state. The ruling affects tens of thousands, including many conscientious objectors who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Haiti's Defence Minister said the country plans to start recruiting for its newly reestablished army.

The Minister Herve Denis said they plan to recruit 500 soldiers as part of the first recruitment drive, but they might need to reduce this number due to budgetary problems. He said the duties of the soldiers will be rebuilding after natural disasters and monitoring borders for smuggled contraband.

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