CO Update

Issue number
Updates from Cyprus, Greece, Syria, Myanmar, South Korea, Turkey, Turkmenistan and more...

The webinar series Campaigning for Conscientious Objection to Military Service continue with a new event on 30th March (4pm BST, 5pm CEST, 6pm Cyprus and Israel). On this webinar, we will be focusing on public awareness with activists from Cyprus, Israel and Finland presenting their campaigns on conscientious objection.

QUNO released the updated edition of their publication “International Standards on Conscientious Objection to Military Service”. The booklet includes information on the ways in which conscientious objection has been recognised and is protected under human rights treaties and mechanisms.

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) has released its Annual Report: Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2020. The report covers updates on conscientious objection to military service across the region of Council of Europe (CoE) during 2020.

The Syrian government has threatened to seize the property and assets of ‘military evaders’, namely Syrian refugees outside the country and internally displaced people, who fail to pay exorbitant fees to be exempt from military service.

First time in South Korea, conscientious objection to military service on non-religious grounds is recognised by the country’s Supreme Court and Military Manpower Administration.

At least 19 Myanmar police have fled to India, refusing to take orders from the military junta trying to suppress protests against last month’s coup. In addition, a soldier made a public post on social media showing his refusal to take orders against protesters.

20-year-old conscientious objector Nazar Alliyev was sentenced to one year in prison for refusing compulsory military service. He is the seventh conscientious objector being jailed in 2021 so far in Turkmenistan and joins 14 other conscientious objectors currently in prison (9 of them serving second sentences).

In March, the Administrative Court of the Republic of Cyprus has ruled in favour of a conscientious objector whose application had been rejected. Despite not touching upon crucial issues, the Court's decision in favour of the applicant CO illustrated the arbitrary way the applications for CO status are handled in Cyprus.

In Greece, first time in decades, the duration of the full military service in the Army has been increased from 9 to 12 months.

A conscientious objector from South Korea currently performing his alternative service as prison staff has filed a constitutional appeal against the punitive alternative military service law.

Conscientious Objection Association Turkey (VR- DER) has released the first issue of its Conscientious Objection Bulletin including updates on conscientious objection to military service in Turkey.

The Collective Action of Conscientious Objectors (Spanish: la Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia, or ACOOC) is a social organization which, based around the concepts of nonviolence and conscientious objection, supports alternatives to Colombian militarism, militarization, and the patriarchy, via legal, public campaigning, and educational strategies. Since 2006, ACOOC has worked alongside young people and their communities with to cultivate a peaceful culture.

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