Greece

GREECE: Conscientious objectors boycott the Conscience Examination Committee

In December 2016, the Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors called on conscientious objectors (COs) in Greece to boycott the Conscience Examination Committee, which considers CO applications under the authority of the Ministry of Defence. In their statement, the Association said "The existence of a committee, which, like another Holy Inquisition, interrogates the conscientious objectors, violates any sense of the protected right to freedom of conscience."

Updated information on conscription and conscientious objection to military service in Greece and Eritrea

War Resisters' International maintains a unique resource, the World survey of conscription and conscientious objection to military service: a database of country profiles and information on the situation for COs and conscripts around the world. This is updated on a rolling basis, and we have recently revised our report on Greece.

Click here to read it.

Solidarity with the 3 conscientious objectors who refused to be examined by the Conscience Examination Committee

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Athens 14/12/2016

On Monday 12 of December, a few days after the anniversary marking 30 years from the first declaration of refusal to enlist on ideological grounds of Mihalis Maragkakis, three new conscientious objectors proceeded to an unprecedented, as for Greece, massive refusal to be examined by the Conscience Examination Committee.

Specifically, the 3 conscientious objectors, responding to the Call to boycott the Conscience Examination Committee, issued by the Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors (AGCO), they reported to the Ministry of National Defence. Upon their arrival, the 3 conscientious objectors stated to the Ministry's employee who was escorting them, that they have a common stance, and therefore they wanted to enter altogether in the room in order to declare orally the reasons for holding this stance and to collectively present their protest. When she passed this information to the president of the Committee, Mr. Theodoros Raptis, member of the State's Legal Council, who was entering in the same time, he responded that these things will not be discussed in the corridor, without showing the minimum interest to know what exactly the three objectors had asked for.

Call to boycott the Conscience Examination Committee

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Athens 10/12/2016

The Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors calls on those who have submitted applications in order to be recognized as conscientious objectors and perform alternative service, to boycott, from now on, the Conscience Examination Committee. The existence of a committee, which, like another Holy Inquisition, interrogates the conscientious objectors, violates any sense of the protected right to freedom of conscience. 

Furthermore, this interrogation, under the threat of rejection and the subsequent sanctions for insubordination in case the rejected persons insist in their conscientious objection, leads to the collection of data (profiling) of people, based, among other things, on their political beliefs, which they are kept in records of the Ministry of National Defence. What's even worse, the Committee has recently exercised unacceptable pressure to the conscientious objectors under examination, in order to reveal other comrades in their political activities,[i] sometimes even asking the latter to act as testifiers in order to confirm the claims of the applicants. This results either in the profiling of persons beyond the objector under examination, or in the rejection of any applicant who refuses to do so.

GREECE: ECHR judgement highlighting the urgent need for legislative reform on conscientious objection

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favour of Leonidas Papavasilakis, a conscientious objector who the Greek government refused to recognise, in its Chamber judgement on 15th September 2016.

The court found that the authorities had violated article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights (which provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion).

Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Greece*

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: 3 December 2015, adopted by the Human Rights Committee at its 115th session (19 October-6 November 2015)

Conscientious objection to compulsory military service

Statement of conscientious objectors from eastern Mediterranean region

Solidarity action outside the Israeli embassy in Athens for Tair Kaminer, Israeli CO currently in jailSolidarity action outside the Israeli embassy in Athens for Tair Kaminer, Israeli CO currently in jailConscientious objector groups from the eastern Mediterranean region have recently issued a statement on the ongoing military crisis in their region. Declaring their solidarity with refugees escaping from war and repression, they made a call to the international community to pursue peaceful solutions, rather than militarised ones, for the ongoing violence in the region. “The world's reaction to the current regional violence,” the statement declares, “should be building societies, assisting refugees, and mediating between fighting parties, not selling arms, bombings and providing military assistance.”

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Solidarity action for Tair Kaminer in Athens

Related peace activists: 

Amnesty International in Greece held a solidarity action for Israeli conscientious objector Tair Kaminer on 20th March 2016, when Tair was in prison for the third time.

 

Statement of conscientious objectors’ groups from eastern Mediterranean region

We are conscientious objectors from all around the eastern Mediterranean region. Our region has suffered for so long from oppression, injustice, militarisation, military occupations and wars, as well as poverty, illiteracy, hunger and lack of social infrastructure. In this difficult period, when our region seems to fall even more into the chaos of war, we raise a common voice for peace and against militarisation.

We refuse to allow this cycle of violence, initiated by oppressive states and economic interests, to continue; we refuse to be a part of it; we refuse to be enemies with people who just happen to be of a different nationality or religion; we will not be dragged into their wars and armies leading to death and destruction in the region.

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