International Conscientious Objection Day

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Every year, 15th May marks International Conscientious Objection Day (CO day) - a day to celebrate those who have, and those who continue, to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.

If you would like to take part in CO day, contact us.

International Conscientious Objection Day was marked on Monday 15th May by antimilitarists around the world, celebrating those who have - and those who continue - to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures. It’s a day when we celebrate refusal, disobedience, and everything that says no to militarism. But also a day when we say yes to nonviolence, solidarity, and reclaiming our bodies and communities for coexistence!

International Conscientious Objection Day was marked on Monday by antimilitarists around the world, celebrating those who have - and those who continue - to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.

It’s a day when we celebrate refusal, disobedience, and everything that says no to militarism. But also a day when we say yes to nonviolence, solidarity, and reclaiming our bodies and communities for coexistence!

Conscientious objection means refusing to be co-opted into militarism. It means naming armies and organised violent groups for what they really are, and often being at risk of imprisonment and social stigma for doing so.

It also means joining in an internationalist movement, which is organising nonviolently towards societies free from war and oppression. This work is made more possible by solidarity across borders - and that's where you come in!

 

Since 1985, 15th May - International Conscientious Objection day - has been used to celebrate those who have - and those who continue - to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures. This year, actions occured in Germany, Republic of Korea, Britain, Turkey and Venezuela, amongst other places.

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.


Today is International Conscientious Objection day - a day to celebrate those who have - and those who continue - to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.

Antimilitarist activists around the world are sharing the stories of conscientious objectors to military service, including over 700 imprisoned in South Korea, those in Venezuela struggling for the right to refuse military service in the Soy Civil No Militar (I am civil not military)campaign, and those who have been in prison in Eritrea since 1994.

The right to refuse to kill is recognised as part of the right to thought, conscience and religion, but many states ignore this. Conscientious objection is a nonviolent strategy against war, and the idea of conscientious objection has been used by those not subject to obligatory military service, in communities militarised in other ways. It's a way of reclaiming our own power, and taking a stand against war.

See a list of some of the events below. You can use the hashtag #CODay (o #díaOC en español) to spread the word about the day on social media.

You can use these sample tweets:

Today is #COday. Over 700 #conscentiousobjectors are imprisoned today in #SouthKorea alone. Sign up to support them http://lists.wri-irg.org/sympa/subscribe/co-alert Today is #COday: #ConscientiousObjectors are working internationally against #militarisation. Sign up to learn more: http://lists.wri-irg.org/sympa/subscribe/co-update Today is #COday: we celebrate all those who refuse to be part of militarist structures, both as conscripts and in everyday life

15th May is International Conscientious Objection Day - a joint day of action used by peace activists around the world to support those who refuse to be part of the militarist system, as well as to remember and learn from conscientious objectors of past generations.

Those who resist war and preparations for war expose the military for what it is. As Yeook Yang, from World Without War, a WRI affiliate in South Korea, tells us: "In a highly militarised society where any discussion of the military is taboo, conscientious objectors are making it clear that the military exists only to kill."

For us, conscientious objection is part of a wider nonviolent struggle to transform oppressive and violent systems, and show an alternative way.

Take action

Here are some ways you can support conscientious objectors around the world today:

attend a CO day event. See our list here in English, Español, Deutsch for info on events in South Korea, Turkey, the USA, Colombia, Britain, Greece, Germany, France and Paraguay. talk about CO day on social media. Use #COday in English or #díaOC in Spanish sign and share our petition for COs in Korea. Find it here in English, and here in German. You can print a version to share with your contacts in person here COs in Colombia are calling for your input into their campaign! They would like short videos of people answering the question: Which service would you provide to your community if you did not have to do military service? More info: /co-day-2015 share our press release, which focuses on conscientious objection in South Korea: /press-release-CO-day-2015 sign up to receive CO Alerts, which put pressure on authorities imprisoning and punishing conscientious objectors

Contact Hannah Brock on +44-20-7278 4040 and hannah@wri-irg.org

Today marks International Conscientious Objection day. Worldwide, 92% of all conscientious objectors imprisoned for refusing obligatory military service are in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). An international campaign is calling for their release and the recognition of the right to conscientious objection everywhere.

 

 

War Resisters' International, Amnesty International, Connection e.V. and World Without War are petitioning the South Korean Defence Minister, General Han Min-Koo 한민구, calling upon his government to immediately and unconditionally release all conscientious objectors; recognise conscientious objection as a human right inherent to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; make appropriate provision for conscientious objectors to military service; and to clear the criminal records and provide compensation for conscientious objectors who have been imprisoned for refusing military service in the past.

Sign it online here and download a paper version here.

Subscribe to International Conscientious Objection Day