The Peace and Justice Centre Support Conscientious Objects world wide.
Today is International Conscientious Objectors day. Around the world, campaigners are raising awareness of the people who continue to be persecuted and imprisoned for refusing to kill, as well as remembering the generations who refused to go to war.
The right to reject military service on grounds of conscientious objection is protected under international human rights standards . However, many nations ignore this. Today, conscientious objectors are in prison or under house detention in Turkmenistan, Finland, Armenia, Israel, South Korea, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Turkey and the USA.
Those who are punished for their conscientious objection include Natan Blanc, a conscientious objector in Israel, who is now in prison for the 10th time. Natan now holds the curious record of having been re-imprisoned for than any other conscientious objector in Israel. Natan refuses to join the Israeli military because he refuses to participate in human rights abuses against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.
Recently, conscientious objectors and their families have also been subject to torture in Turkmenistan, and a pregnant mother of four has been imprisoned for ten months in the USA, having developed a conscientious objector between deployments to Iraq.
Many conscientious objectors are motivated by their religious, ethical and political beliefs. For many more, refusing to serve in the armed forces is the most visible way of rejecting militarism: that is, the belief that armed violence can solve conflicts, and that therefore states should maintain strong military capabilities – and be prepared to use them aggressively – to both ‘defend’ themselves and aggressively promote perceived national interests.
Events from vigils to film showings to nonviolent direct actions are taking place in Turkey, South Korea, UK and USA. There are also many unannounced actions taking place in other places – photos will be available on the WRI website after they have taken place. Info on all these events can be found here: wri-irg.org/COsDay2013. Please use the hashtags #COsDay or #díaOC en español to highlight the day in social media.