Prisoners for Peace

1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters' International have, on this day, made known the names and stories of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

This day is a chance for you to demonstrate your support for those individuals and their movements, by writing to those whose freedom has been taken away from them because of their work for peace.

WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, which we make a special effort to update for Prisoners for Peace Day on December 1st.

WRI homepage > WRI Network > Prisoners for Peace Appeal > Prisoners for Peace 2005

Dear member and supporter of War Resisters' International,

Welcome to our Prisoners for Peace Day appeal, this year with a focus on the situation in Eritrea.

Background to the country

Eritrea, located in the horn of Africa, won its de-facto independence on 24 May 1991 after 30 years of a bitter, bloody and costly armed struggle against rule by its neighbour, Ethiopia. Eritrea formally declared independence on 24 May 1993 after an overwhelming yes vote in a referendum overseen by the United Nations.

How the list works First are prisoners' names (in bold), followed by their sentence, then their place of imprisonment and, finally the reason for their detention Information about countries where prisoners have had their sentences suspended, where sentences have been served or completed during the year, or where there are simply too many imprisoned COs to list, are in italics. Armenia

Although Armenia passed a law on conscientious objection in 2004, the country continues to imprison conscientious objectors.

1 December Prisoners for Peace Day

Every year for 1 December - International Prisoners for Peace Day - War Resisters' International compiles a list of people imprisoned for conscientious objection or nonviolent action for peace.

This year, the focus will be on Eritrea, a country destroyed by war and an authoritarian regime, and where the only option for conscientious objectors - men and women - is to flee the country.

Please order the campaign pack (available early in November) in English, Spanish, French or German.

More information on Eritrea at

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Imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Finland

The focus of Prisoners for Peace Day 2004 is the imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Finland. Finland, a member state of the European Union, continues to imprison conscientious objectors who refuse to perform a substitute service which is punitive in length.

After the rulings of the Korean Supreme Court and Constitutional court earlier this year, the Korean courts are now picking up on trials against conscientious objectors. More than 750 conscientious objectors are in prison on Prisoners for Peace Day. Besides Jehovah's Witnesses and 7th Day Adventists, also the number of pacifist conscientious objectors is on the rise. On 15 November, seven pacifist COs were in prison.


O Taeyang (30), a pacifist and buddhist.

1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day This year's focus: conscientious objection in Finland

The special edition of WRI's The Broken Rifle, incorporating the annual Prisoners for Peace Honour Roll, is available online in English, German, French, and Spanish. Please contact the WRI Office if you require print copies, or feel free to download the material from our website, and make your own copies.

Several groups and organisations work to support conscientious objectors in Finland

Aseistakieltäytyiäliitto
Union of Conscientious Objectors, Peace Station, Veturitori, 00520 Helsinki, Finland
tel +358 9 140427; fax 147297
email akl@aseistakieltaytyjaliitto.fi
www.aseistakieltaytyjaliitto.fi/

The Broken Rifle

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The Broken Rifle is the newsletter of War Resisters' International, and is published in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 64, November 2004.

This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Andreas Speck. Special thanks go to Kaj Raninen and Simo Hellsten from Finland, to Amnesty International and Forum 18 News Service, who provided the information used in this issue.

If you want extra copies of this issue of The Broken Rifle, please contact the WRI office, or download it from our website.

1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day

This years focus: conscientious objection in Finland.

It is only one more month to Prisoners for Peace Day. The special edition of WRI's The Broken Rifle, incorporating the annual Prisoners for Peace Honour Roll, will be available in English online after 4 November, and in print from 15 November on. The German, French, and Spanish editions will be available soon after.

Editorial

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Welcome to the Prisoners for Peace special edition of The Broken Rifle. The focus of Prisoners for Peace Day 2004 is the imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Finland. Finland, a member state of the European Union, continues to imprison conscientious objectors who refuse to perform a substitute service which is punitive in length. And the number of imprisoned conscientious objectors is growing - now standing at about 70-80 annually.

Kaj Raninen

Finland still maintains a very extensive conscription system. About 80% of all male Finnish citizens perform military service, a bit more than 10 % are exempted from service and about 7 % apply for conscientious objection.

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