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: There will be a CO Day event from 4 until 5pm outside the National Gallery. Remembering Conscientious Objectors of all wars, past and present, especially those of the First World War. We will be reading the names and hear some of the stories of Conscientious objectors. The Mound, EH2 2EL.
12th May: 1-2pm, Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Court: The Experience of Resistance: Conscientious Objectors to the First World War. Book online here.
Conscientious objectors in Greece demonstrate in solidarity with imprisoned Israeli COs, March 2016
14th May: Meet conscientious objectors from across Europe
On Saturday 14th May, the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection are holding their annual meeting in London for the first time; join representatives of peace movements afterwards for an informal meeting at 7.30pm. It will be a chance to hear how we can support anti-conscription and conscientious objector movements today, as well as to discover how recognition of the rights of conscientious objectors in Britain in 1916 impacted campaigns in other countries.
When: Saturday 14th May, 7.30pm
Where: Friends House, London, NW1 2BJ
Free but RSVP to TimW@quaker.org.uk
15th May: Tavistock Square, London, midday. Info here.
15th May, 12pm - 1.30pm, Commemoration event in Bonn Square. Info here.
May, 30th - June, 5th in Berlin, Rostock, Mainz, Köln. Speaking tour by Uliana Kotsaba, the wife of Ukrainian CO and prisoner Ruslan Kotsaba. Details to follow.
14 May: bicycle parade from the National Constitutional Court to National assembly, with the '2016 Roll the Pedal of Peace'. Organised by World Without War, Amnesty Korea, KAC (Korea Anabaptist Center, mennonite church group), and Youth Left.
More info from World Without War.
VR-DER: 15 Mayıs’ta Amed’deyiz! – Amed’in “Garnizon Kent” Olmasına İzin Vermeyeceğiz!
Hem Amed’in demilitarizasyonuna yönelik siyasetimizi dile getirmek, hem de askıya alınan barış sürecinin önemini vurgulamak için 15 Mayıs Uluslararası Vicdani Retçiler Günü vesilesiyle yurt içinden ve yurtdışından tüm arkadaşlarımızla Amed’de buluşuyoruz.
United States of America
16th May, 11.30am: Berkeley C.O. and War Resisters’ Day
Peace Flag raising ceremony, first at Civic Center flagpole at 2180 Milvia Street, corner of Allston Way and then at the flagpole at MLK, Jr. Civic Center Park, 2151 MLK, Jr. Way (between Center Street and Allston Way, across from Old City Hall), Berkeley
Jueves 12 de Mayo, 9 de la mañana, Foro XX1, Centro Letonia, Caracas