International Conscientious Objection Day

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.

Operation Refuse War

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Stephen Funk was one of the first resisters who went to prison for his conscientious objection to the war in Iraq in 2003, serving six months. For The Broken Rifle, he tells his story.

Women Resisting War

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War Resisters League Peace Award Since 1958, WRI's US section War Resisters League honours a person or organisation whose work represents the WRL's radical platform of action with the WRL Peace Award. Recipients have included peace agitator A.J. Muste, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, feminist and pacifist theorist Barbara Deming, Plowshares movement founder Daniel Berrigan, Gulf War Resisters, and many others.

War Resisters' International released a report to the United Nations' Human Rights Committee in March 2006, highlighting "issues of conscience and human rights" in relation to the US Armed Forces. The report forms part of WRI's activities in preparation for 15 May 2006 - International Conscientious Objectors' Day - which focuses on US Cos and resisters. WRI's main concerns are:

Operation Refuse War

15 May - International Conscientious Objectors Day

Focus on US resisters and GIs

From May 11th to 16th, an international group of conscientious objectors will gather in New York City and Washington, DC for Operation Refuse War, a week of conferences, demonstrations, and actions in celebration of International Conscientious Objectors Day, May 15th.

Operation Refuse War

15 May - International Conscientious Objectors Day

Focus on US resisters and GIs

From May 11th to 16th, an international group of conscientious objectors will gather in New York City and Washington, DC for Operation Refuse War, a week of conferences, demonstrations, and actions in celebration of International Conscientious Objectors Day, May 15th.

Focus on conscientious objection in Greece

Since the 1980s, 15 May is celebrated as International Conscientious Objectors' Day[1]. Originally coordinated by the International Conscientious Objectors' Meeting (ICOM), War Resisters' International stepped in to coordinate and promote International Conscientious Objectors' Day since ICOM ceased to meet ever since ICOM 1995 in Chad.

Cyprus, a tiny divided island in the eastern Mediterranean is a military minefield. Even after accession to the EU, no country in the world - with the exception of Korea - has seen its territory amassed with such a deadly array of weaponry with possible catastrophic consequences for the inhabitants. 40000 occupying Turkish forces and another few thousand Turkish-Cypriot soldiers face a few thousand Greek- Cypriots conscripts and Greek soldiers, with British troops and bases and a few thousand UN peace keepers guarding the ceasefire line.

15 May - International Conscientious Objectors' Day

International Conscientious Objectors' Day 2005 focuses on the situation of conscientious objectors in Greece. War Resisters' International and the Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors are organising an international seminar and nonviolence training, leading to an international nonviolent action on conscientious objection in Thessaloniki on 15 May.

The activities will start on 9 May, and will last until 15 May.

Editorial

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This issue of The Broken Rifle focuses on conscientious objection in Greece and International CO Day. Since the 1980s, International CO Day -- celebrated on 15th May every year -- has been an important day of action highlighting CO struggle. This year we are turning our attention to CO's in Greece and will be holding an International Nonviolence Training in Thessaloniki. Greece was the last EU country to recognise the right to conscientious objection when it finally did so in 1997.

What?

Since the 1980's, International CO Day has been celebrated as a day of nonviolent direct action in support of CO struggle. Each year, there is a focus on the struggle in a particular country which is accompanied by decentral activities all over the world.This year's activities will focus on Greece with a Training in Nonviolent Action and discussions on issues in Greece taking place between 9th and 14th May

When?

Sunday 15th May (with training running up to it: 9th-14th)

Lazaros Petromelidis is a Greek CO who has been persecuted for his beliefs since 1992. He spoke with Kat Barton about his long struggle for recognition of his right to refuse.

KB: When did you first realise that your conscience would not allow you to participate in the military?

LP: In 1991, when I finished university and it was my time to go to the army - although I had heard about the first CO's in 1987/88 so it was not something new for me.

KB: Why are you a conscientious objector?

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