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Dear readers of CO-Update,

My first experience of producing a CO Update has been a mixed one. On the one hand, we see Colombia and Austria exploring legal routes to protect conscientious objectors, or suspend conscription, respectively. On the other, Armenia has imprisoned conscientious objectors after a break of one year, whilst at the same time making statements that imply a cessation of conscription in the not-too-distant future.

In words to a European Parliament hearing last week, Andreas Speck talked of the end of conscription sometimes having little impact on how 'militarised' a society is. I was reminded of this when reading of the situation in Kazakhstan, where only 3-7 per cent of young men are conscripted to the armed forces, but where all males aged 16 to 60 years, and many women between 18 and 45 years, will soon undergo defence training that includes learning how to use a gun.

Finally, War Resisters' International relies upon your donations. If you value our contribution - providing detailed and up-to-date information on conscientious objectors, campaigning to protect their rights, and supporting a network of antimilitarist groups around the world - please donate online at

Hannah Brock