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.

Israeli conscientious objector Hallel Rabin, 19, was imprisoned again last week, following her refusal to serve in the military. This is Hallel's fourth imprisonment and she was sentenced to more 10 days in military prison. Hallel has already spent 40 days behind the bars in three separate terms.

Israeli conscientious objector Hallel Rabin, 19, was imprisoned for her refusal to serve in the army. On 19th October, Rabin was sentenced to 25 days in military prison. This is Rabin’s third imprisonment, adding to 15 days she already spent behind bars. Write to the Israeli authorities here demanding Rabin's immediate release. 

The conscientious objector K.K., whose 2003 application for CO status and to perform an extremely punitive alternative civilian service of 30 months (instead of 12 months of military service) had been rejected by the Minister of National Defence, as well as his appeal by the highest administrative court, and who was facing trial by military court at the age of 45 for insubordination, was finally acquitted.

A 45-year-old conscientious objector who, 17 years ago, had applied and was denied to perform an alternative civilian service of 30 months (instead of 12 months of military service), is summoned to trial by a military court on October 26th, 2020.

K.K. had applied for CO status for ideological reasons and to perform the then extremely punitive alternative civilian service, back in 2003. His application was rejected in 2004 by the Greek Minister of National Defence, after recommendation of a 5-membered special committee which by that time included 2 military officers.

In February of this year, we sent out a CO-Alert of a Colombian Conscientious Objector, Brayan Gonzalez, who was irregularly recruited by the Army. His CO application wasn't recognised by the military Interdisciplinary Commission. To avoid being charged for desertion, he decided to come back to the battalion. He continues refusing inside the battalion. Read Brayan's story and consider sending the support letter. 

In response to the many known cases of sexual abuse and harassment of women by members of the armed forces and the police in different places in Colombia, at the end of July, the Colombian vice-president Martha Lucía Ramirez held a meeting with the Defence Ministry and the Military Forces. During this meeting, the Vice-president proposed the inclusion and recruitment of women as a strategy that could prevent violence against women by members of the military and police forces.

At the beginning of June, the US President threatened state governors with the 1807 Insurrection Act by sending military and federal police into cities across the US - as happened in Washington D.C. - if they didn’t react and repress protest in their states. Some National Guard and active-duty GIs reached out to Veterans and GI rights organisations to consult about their options if they were going to refuse to comply and follow orders.

The Russian Federation has started the 11th conscription campaign of residents in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The European Union condemned this draft attempt and has called on Russia to stop all violations of Human Rights and international law in the Crimean Peninsula.

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