Conscientious objection

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On 20th August, Morocco’s ministerial council, chaired by King Mohammed VI, approved a draft law reintroducing compulsory military service for under 25s. If passed in parliament, both men and women aged 19 to 25 will be subject to a 12-month mandatory military service - which was abolished by the King in 2006.

Courts in Turkmenistan continue to imprison conscientious objectors. Since June, six more conscientious objectors have been imprisoned: one in June, three in July and two in August. This adds to two other conscientious objectors imprisoned in January this year.

There are now eight conscientious objectors from Turkmenistan -all Jehovah's Witnesses aged 18 to 24- known to be imprisoned from one to two years for refusing compulsory military service on religious grounds.

18-year-old Emil Mehdiyev repeatedly expressed willingness to perform a civilian alternative to compulsory military service. Instead, he was given a criminal conviction, a one-year suspended prison term, and will be under probation for one year. Seven similar criminal cases against other young men are with Prosecutor's Offices.

The organisers of the conference, Eritrea and the Ongoing Refugee Crisis, has published a new booklet: Eritrea: A Country Under the Sway of a Dictatorship. The publication provides a comprehensive overview of the situation in the country, the situation of Eritrean refugees in Europe and elsewhere, as well as introducing their initiatives and activities.

Last Thursday, in a landmark decision, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ordered the government to introduce alternative service of a civilian nature for conscientious objectors. The court ruled that Article 5 of the Military Service Act (MSA), which fails to provide alternative forms of national service, is unconstitutional and obligated lawmakers to change the law by the end of 2019.

Connection e.V., Förderverein PRO ASYL, Eritrean Law Society (ELS), Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR), Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA), and War Resisters’ International have published a new booklet, Eritrea: A Country Under the Sway of a Dictatorship. The booklet provides a comprehensive overview of the situation in Eritrea, the situation of Eritrean refugees in Europe and elsewhere, as well as introducing their initiatives and activities.

We are looking to hire a new worker for our Right to Refuse to Kill programme, which supports conscientious objectors (COs) and CO solidarity organisations around the world. The new worker will be based in Colombia, and run the Right to Refuse to Kill (RRtK) Programme alongside the other staff in London. This will include planning WRI’s International Assembly in Colombia in 2019.

Bearing in mind the scandalous fact that despite numerous appeals, Greek authorities have, for several decades, violated the human right of conscientious objection to military service, the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection and War Resisters’ International support the renewed call for a boycott of the Conscience Examination Committee (the special advisory committee which examines applications for conscientious objector status), which has been issued by the Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors.

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