Czech Republic

Each month, we feature a different WRI affiliate. This month it is the Independent Social Ecological Movement - NESEHNUTÍ in the the Czech Republic. They say:

We were accepted as a War Resisters International affiliate in 2016, so we are pretty new in the network. We are a social and environmental non-governmental organization from the Czech Republic, settled in the city of Brno. This month we are celebrating our 20th anniversary!

In May and June 2017, activists in Canada, Israel and France have taken nonviolent direct action against arms fairs. In Ottawa, Canada, 40 activists blockaded the entrance to the CANSEC fair for over an hour. CANSEC is an annual two day event hosting 800 companies from across the arms industries, and attended by 12,000 people. As well as exhibits of weapons and other equipment, attendees were given the opportunity to hear presentations from government ministers and attend evening receptions sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

This year, the annual ENAAT (European Network Against Arms Trade) meeting took place from 15th to 17th May in Brno, Czech Republic. Organized by NESEHNUTÍ, a local NGO, the aim of the meeting was to strengthen the cooperation among the ENAAT members, and to come up with some new ideas regarding ENAAT’s future and discuss the trends of the arms trade of European countries, many of which keep preferring business to human rights by selling arms and weapons to authoritarian and oppressive regimes.

In April, The Czech government announced plans to create a register of citizens who would be willing to volunteer for military service. The Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that the move was in response to threats from Islamic State and insecruity in Ukraine, but did not amount to conscription, which was abolished in 2005. The legislation still needs approving by both houses of parliament, where the ruling party has a majority, and signed by the president.

From 15th to 17th of May, the European Network Against the Arms Trade (ENAAT) will meet in Brno, Czech Republic. The aim of the meeting, organised by local ENAAT member NESEHNUTÍ, is not only to discuss current trends in the European arms trade, but also to strengthen cooperation among the members in campaigns against arms exports. These exports are fuelling armed conflicts in many parts of the world, and are helping various dictators and repressive regimes to suppress their own populations.

In this presentation I will give an overview of the right to conscientious objection, its
legal practices and frameworks in the 27 European Union member states. Before I do so, I want to step back a bit and have a brief look at the existing international standards about the right to
conscientious objection, as these standards allow us to put the practices in the EU member states into a perspective.

Czech Republic

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Issues

The right to conscientious objection is recognised in case conscription will again be enforced, but the provisions do not meet international standards.
The Czech Republic does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.

Military recruitment
Conscription

In 2001, the Czech government decided to end conscription. The government initially intended to suspend conscription by 2007, but the transformation process into professional armed forces proceeded faster than was initially anticipated.

Each fall the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space organizes Keep Space for Peace Week: International Days of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space. These events are intended to help educate the public about the need to prevent the arms race from moving into the heavens.

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