Conscientious objection

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Video featuring Accion colectiva de objetores y objetoras de conscienca (Collective Action of Conscientious Objectors), by FOR Peace Presence

On 14th July, conscientious objectors Tair Kaminer and Ruslan Kotsaba – in Ukraine and Israel respectively - were released. Journalist and draft refuser Ruslan Kotsaba was freed on appeal, after initially being charged with treason. The judge found that there was no evidence to condemn him, and ordered his immediate release from custody. In Israel, refuser Tair Kaminer was exempted from the army for 'bad behaviour'. She had spent over 150 days in prison for her refusal. CO Omri Baranes is still going through the process of being repeatedly called up, imprisoned, released and called up. Sign up to support her, and other COs, here. Refusing to kill is not a crime.

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Statement from War Resisters' International's affiliate in Turkey, Vicdani Ret Derneği (the conscientious objection association)

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Military coups have brought along human rights violations in every location they have taken place. In every place where the army has taken control by force, the violence has been further institutionalized and the societies who witness the coups have been stuck in spirals of violence. The process we have been living since July 15 night is making us experience a variety of this spiral of violence. On one side military coup scenarios are being put into practice by “Peace at Home Council”, on the other side AKP government’s so called “democratic moves” are on the agenda.

UPDATE: on 14 July Ruslan was released on appeal, the judge finding that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge of treason. Read the news here.

Ukrainian court of appeal acquits journalist sentenced for high treason

Read more on UNIAN: http://www.unian.info/politics/1417986-ukrainian-court-of-appeal-acquit… Ukrainian court of appeal acquits journalist sentenced for high treason

Read more on UNIAN: http://www.unian.info/politics/1417986-ukrainian-court-of-appeal-acquit… PDF

Conscientious objector and journalist sentenced to 3½ years in jail

In Israel, Omri Barnes and Tair Kaminer have been imprisoned again because they #refuse2occupy and refuse to serve the army. Tair, starting her 6th term of 45 days in prison said "As long as the violent military way holds sway, we will simply have further generations growing up with a heritage of hate, which will only make things even worse. We must stop this - now!". Omri, returning now to prison for the third time for a term of 30 days says "The military creates a circle of violence while claiming to defend the country. I believe that a person has a responsibility towards certain humanistic values, which lie beyond his/hers political and social framework, which is why I refuse to enlist."

Their support group Mersavot is calling people around the world to support them, by posting your own picture a with a message to Tair and Omri and use the hashtag #refuse2occupy.

I spent the weekend in the good company of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), a European umbrella organisation campaigning for the rights of conscientious objectors. In their 30+ year history, EBCO have never before met in Britain. They chose to on this occasionat the invitation of the First World War Peace Forum, a group of British peace groups working to give an alternative, antimiltiarist view of the centenary memorials to the first World War, which in Britain have been an excuse for nationalism and militarism.

Having reintroduced conscription temporarily (for a span of five years) last year, the State Defence Council decided in March that mandatory military service would be enacted indefinitely. The council's decision now have to be approved at the Seimas, the country's parliament. Conscription had been abolished in 2008, but was reintroduced - and defence spending also increased - citing security threats in Eastern Europe.

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