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.

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.

Following reports on right-wing extremism activities by active or former members of the German army, the new commissioner for the armed forces, Eva Högl, started a debate affirming that “ending conscription was a big mistake” and reintroducing it might help tackle antidemocratic ideas inside the army. The Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer rejected the idea of the return of compulsory military service, announcing, on the other hand, a new voluntary service called “Your year for Germany” which will be introduced in 2021.

The Inter American Court of Human Rights has adopted its admissibility report on José Ignacio Orías Calvo’s conscientious objection case, presented by Derechos en Acción against Bolivia. The IACHR considered that the Bolivian state didn’t comply with its commitment of legislating on the human right of conscientious objection.

Following International Conscientious Objection Day, WRI hosted a webinar on conscientious objection and asylum with contributions by campaigners from Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) and Connection e.V.. The presentations from this webinar are now available online and you can watch here.

CO-Update 100 is out!

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The latest issue of our newsletter CO Update is out! In this issue, you'll find stories on conscientious objection and conscription from Ukraine,Turkey, Eritrea, Germany, USA, Azerbaijan, Thailand, among others.

The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement condemns Bill No 3553, recently sent to parliament by President Zelensky. If parliament passes the bill, Ukraine will face further bloodshed, crime will rise, and our economy will fall into deeper misery and shadows. Thousands of additional Ukrainian citizens will seek asylum abroad, away from war and violence destroying their peaceful way of life.

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