CO Update

Issue number
Updates from Belarus, Cyprus, Greece and elsewhere

Another young man in the self-proclaimed state of Northern Cyprus faces a prison sentence due to his refusal to perform compulsory military service.

Conscientious objectors to military service in Greece continue to face violations of human rights and this does not pass unnoticed from international and regional monitoring procedures, including at the level of the United Nations.

This is a list of those who are currently in prison for their conscientious objection to military service and their work for peace.

In December 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Committee asked Belarus to respond in the case of 33-year-old conscientious objector Dmitry Mozol. In February 2021, a court in Pinsk fined him four months' wages for refusing call-up to reservist military training on grounds of conscience. He failed to overturn the criminal punishment on appeal. The law allows only individuals who have completed alternative civilian service to be exempted from reservist military training. Alternative service was introduced only in 2016, after Mozol was initially called up. Jehovah's Witnesses fear that other young men could also face such prosecution.

On December 6th, the UN Human Rights Committee announced their decision on the case of conscientious objector Lazaros Petromelidis from Greece. The Committee found violations of articles 9(1), 12(2), 14(7), and 18(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and asked Greece to take necessary measures addressing these violations. The decision of the UN Human Rights Committee advances relevant jurisprudence and could be significant for conscientious objectors in other countries too.
Read the full statement of Connection e.V., European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and War Resisters' International.