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Special Focus on conscientious objection on the Balkans

Andreas Speck

15 May is International Conscientious Objectors' Day. For War Resisters' International and its affiliates this is one important opportunity to act for the right to refuse to kill, to raise awareness for conscientious objection and against militarism.

In 2002, War Resisters' International focuses its activities on the situation of conscientious objectors on the Balkans - not just former-Yugoslavia, but also Turkey and Greece. Although the situation in these countries differs in many aspects, most of these countries have one aspect in common: the struggle for the right to refuse to kill is somehow stuck. War Resisters' International's decision to focus on these countries in our activities for 15 May 2002 is meant to support these CO movements, to get the struggle for the right to refuse to kill moving again.

This issue of The Broken Rifle provides background information on some of the countries: Croatia, Serbia, and Greece. In addition, this issue looks at the history of 15 May - International Conscientious Objectors' Day - and includes a discussion on the human rights approach versus the antimilitsrist approach to conscientious objection.

For the first time we also provide a list of imprisoned conscientious objectors - similar to our Prisoners for Peace-list on 1 December, but more limited to the issue of conscientious objection. Support these imprisoned COs - and support us in our work to support COs!
Andreas Speck works at the office of the War Resisters' International.