Conscientious objection

Editorial

Stories in this edition of this CO Update remind me of the importance of solidarity with conscientious objectors.

Colombia: FARC announced they will no longer recruit under 18s

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia: FARC) have released the first of an estimated 2,000 child soldiers from within its ranks. Last week, it declared its intention to stop recruiting under 18s.

Cyprus: Longer alternative service for ‘mentally unfit’ conscripts

In Cyprus, conscripts deemed to be 'mentally unfit' (here we quote the government source, and apologise for the language) will no longer be able to secure a full discharge but will be required to serve in the army for a period one-third longer than the normal stint, under new legislation designed to deter potential 'draft dodgers'.

Defence minister Christoforos Fokaides told Daily Politis that draftees diagnosed with psychological problems would serve out an alternative service, not at military installations but at defence-related services.

Ukrainian conscientious objector on trial

Related peace activists: 

Ukrainian journalist and CO Ruslan Kotsaba is on trial in Ivano-Frankivsk. Ruslan has been in detention for almost a year, charged with treason and obstructing the military. In a video addressed to the Ukrainian President, he declared his refusal to be drafted, saying he would rather go to prison for five years than turn a weapon on his "compatriots in the east". He called on his fellow countrymen to refuse to be drafted. Ukrainian law does allow individuals to refuse military service, but this right is confined to a small group of religious minorities. He could face 15 years in gaol. Observers from DFG-VK were present, and rallied outside the court. The trial is ongoing.

Submission on Republic of Korea: Universal Periodic Review, prepared September 2015

Download as a pdf

Information submitted by the International Fellowship of Reconcilitation and Conscience and Peace Tax International

INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF RECONCILIATION

Submission to the 115th Session of the Human Rights Committee

REPUBLIC OF KOREA

(Military service, conscientious objection and related issues)

Updated: September 2015. Contact:

Derek BRETT

International Fellowship of Reconciliation

Main Representative to the UN, Geneva

derek.brett@ifor.com

Tel: (41) 77 462 9825

Background: the issue in the Human Rights Committee

In its concluding observations on the Third Periodic Report of the Republic of Korea under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Human Rights Committee expresses its concern “that: (a) under the Military Service Act of 2003 the penalty for refusal of active military service is imprisonment for a maximum of three years and that there is no legislative limit on the number of times they may be recalled and subjected to fresh penalties; (b) those who have not satisfied military service requirements are excluded from employment in government or public organisations and that (c) convicted conscientious objectors bear the stigma of a criminal record,” and recommends: “The State party should take all necessary measures to recognize the right of conscientious objectors to be exempted from military service. It is encouraged to bring legislation into line with article 18 of the Covenant. In this regard, the Committee draws the attention of the State party to the paragraph 11 of its general comment No. 22 (1993) on article 18 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion).”1

Submission on Austria: Universal Periodic Review, prepared September 2015

Download as a pdf

Information submitted by the International Fellowship of Reconcilitation and Conscience and Peace Tax International

INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF RECONCILIATION

Submission to the 115th Session of the Human Rights Committee

AUSTRIA

(Military service, conscientious objection and related issues)

Updated: September 2015. Contact:

Derek BRETT

International Fellowship of Reconciliation

Main Representative to the UN, Geneva

derek.brett@ifor.com

Tel: (41) 77 462 9825

SUMMARY: Conscientious objection to military service has been recognised in law for as long as obligatory military service has existed in the modern Austrian state. There are however a number of serious concerns with the details of the current legislative provisions.

Submission on Kyrgyzstan: Universal Periodic Review, prepared June 2014

Download as a pdf

Information submitted by the International Fellowship of Reconcilitation and Conscience and Peace Tax International

INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF RECONCILIATION (IFOR)

and

CONSCIENCE AND PEACE TAX INTERNATIONAL

UPR SUBMISSION KYRGYZSTAN JAN/FEB 2015

Contact: Derek Brett

IFOR Main Representative to the UN, Geneva

derekubrett@gmail.com

Executive summary:

This submission focusses on issues of military service and freedom of conscience in Kyrgyzstan. The specific concerns it raises are:

The recognition as conscientious objectors to military service only members of specific religious denominations, and discriminatory features of the alternative service available.

Shortcomings in the 2008 Law on Religious Associations

Militarisation of the secondary education system

Trial of civilians in military courts

Submission on Singapore: Universal Periodic Review, prepared June 2015

Download as a pdf

Information submitted by the International Fellowship of Reconcilitation and Conscience and Peace Tax International

UPR SUBMISSION SINGAPORE 24th SESSION

(Jan/Feb 2016)

1. This submission was prepared in June 2015 on the basis of the latest information available.

Executive summary:

2. This submission focusses on the situation regarding military service and conscientious objection to military service in Singapore. Among the human rights concerns it identifies are:

3. Conscientious objection to military service is not recognised in law or practice. Singapore has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), under which this situation would be a clear breach of Article 18. It is however also contrary to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), which Singapore has endorsed.

Ukraine: Ruslan Kotsaba affirms refusal to take up arms - Observers report from the day in court in Ivano-Frankivsk

Related peace activists: 

German Peace Society – United Antimilitarists – State Associations of Berlin, North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, and Connection e.V.

Visit www.Connection-eV.org/article-2228 for further information on this story.

The case brought against the Ukrainian journalist and conscientious objector Ruslan Kotsaba continued today in Ivano-Frankivsk. It was the first day on which the hearing was observed by a delegation of antimilitarist organisations from Germany. Mr Kotsaba, aged 49, has been held in detention ever since he was arrested almost a year ago on charges of treason and obstructing the military. If sentenced, he faces 15 years in jail.

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