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.

Astoundingly, two decades after his imprisonment, Osman Murat Ülke was summoned to the police station again this week by the prosecutor in Bilecik, who has reopened his case, and ordered him to make a statement at the local police station.

We're coming up to Prisoners for Peace day, held on 1st December. For over sixty years on this day we've been sharing stories and contacts details of those imprisoned for their work for peace, including conscientious objectors.

Conscientious objectors Noa Gur Golan and Hadas Tal from Israel were imprisoned again for their refusal to be conscripted. Noa Gur Golan , 19, has already served 87 days in military prison, and was recently sentenced to another 30 days. Hadas Tal, 18, who's spent 50 days behind bars, was sentenced to 10 more days for her refusal to serve in the IDF.

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, the report includes rights violations in relation to ongoing military conscription by the Russian armed forces in the region.

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!

Recent updates from South Korea increase hopes for the recognition of the right to conscientious objection in the country. Since our last update, 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, has continued to face pressure from 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.

Conscription has officially been re-introduced in Kuwait following the enforcement of the the new mandatory military service law approved by the cabinet in May 2015.

According to new law, which came into effect in April this year, all Kuwaiti men who turned 18 on 10th May 2017 and afterwards must register for conscription within 60 days of their new age.

When conscripted, they will serve 12 months divided in two phases – four months for training and eight months for military service.

Syria is going through the deadliest conflict that the 21st century has witnessed so far, with half a million people killed, over a million injured, and more than 12 million displaced. Millions of Syrians escaped from war and sought asylum in other countries. In this CO-Update, we are sharing the stories of two of those who could escape from conscription in Syria, and are currently based in Germany.

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