New Profile and War Resisters' International submit repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel to United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

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On 21 September - the International Day of Peace, as declared by the United Nations General Assembly [1] - War Resisters' International and New Profile submit the case of conscientious objector Victor Sabranski, who was arrested five times for his refusal to enlist in the Israeli Defence Forces, to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

In doing so, War Resisters' International and New Profile want to highlight that Israel still doesn't recognise the right to conscientious objection (for men), although it is widely accepted as a human right, derived from the right to freedom of thought, religion, and conscience [2]. Although Israel has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it doesn't follow UN Commission on Human Rights Resolutions 2002/45 and 1998/77, which call on states to recognise the right to conscientious objection [3]. Resolution 1998/77 further "emphasizes that States should take the necessary measures to refrain from subjecting conscientious objectors to imprisonment and to repeated punishment for failure to perform military service, and recalls that no one shall be liable or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country."

Not only does Israel not recognise the right to conscientious objection, it also imprisons conscientious objectors several times for the same action - the refusal to perform military service. The case of Victor Sabranski, who was sentenced to military arrest five times, and who spent a total of 126 days in military arrestbetweenApril and September this year, is only a recent - and exceptionally bad - example of how Israel permanently acts in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and of resolutions 2002/45 and 1998/77 of the Commission on Human Rights.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the Commission on Human Rights decided in 1999, that the repeated imprisonment of a conscientious objector is arbitrary [4]. This decision referred to the case of WRI's then Vice-Chair Osman Murat √úlke from Turkey, who was repeatedly imprisoned and sentenced for his conscientious objection and spent a total of 2 1/2 years in military prison in Turkey. UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2002/45 explicitly mentions the decision of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and sees repeated imprisonment as an attempt to force conscientious objectors to change their convictions - which is a severe violation of the right to freedom of thought, religion, and conscience.

War Resisters' International and New Profile submit the case of Victor Sabranski to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - on the UN International Day of Peace - to highlight the fact that this internationally condemned practice is common procedure in Israel. In doing so, War Resisters' International and New Profile appeal to the United Nations to prevent the Israeli military from attempting to break the conviction of conscientious objectors by repeated imprisonment.

War Resisters' International and New Profile call on the Israeli authorities to finally recognise the right to conscientious objection and to introduce legislation according to international standards.

Contact:
Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

5 Caledonian Rd.
London N1 9DX, BRITAIN
tel.: +44-20-7278 4040
fax: +44-20-7278 0444
mobile: +44-7887-585721
email: info@wri-irg.org

New Profile - Movement for the Civil-isation of Israeli Society
OB 3454, Ramat HaSharon 4700, ISRAEL
email: newprofile@speedy.co.il
Contacts: Sergeiy Sandler; tel +972-8-643 8819; mobile +972-55-455 614
Dr. Diana Dolev; tel +972-4-628 8495

Links to original documents

[1] Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, 55/282. "International Day of Peace", A/RES/55/282 (http://srch1.un.org/documents/ga/res/55/a55r282.pdf)
[2] Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/, also Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/a_ccpr.htm
[3] Resolution 1998/77: http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/5bc5759a53f36ab380256671004b643a?Opendocument Resolution 2002/45: http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/5bc5759a53f36ab380256671004b643a?Opendocument
[4] http://www.hri.ca/fortherecord2001/documentation/commission/e-cn4-2001-14-add1.htm
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