International Conscientious Objection Day

Every year, 15th May marks International Conscientious Objection Day (CO day) - a day to celebrate those who have, and those who continue, to resist war, especially by refusing to be part of military structures.

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Editorial

Placheolder image

Welcome to this edition of The Broken Rifle, focusing on the situ­ation of conscientious objectors in South Korea. This is not the first time War Resisters' International produced an issue on South Korea – the last time we did so was for Prisoners for Peace Day 2003. At that time, about 750 con­scientious objectors were serving prison sentences for their con­scientious objection.

by Dongjoo Ko

On 11 October 2005, I called the Military Manpower Administration and told them that I would not be enlisting. Instead a few days later, on 19 October, I announced my conscientious objection to the military through a press conference . My grounds for refusing the military were based on my conscience, Catholic faith and a firm belief that the military do not bring peace.

Yongsuk Lee

It is only recently that the term "nonviolent direct action" appeared in Korean society. Still, there are many misunderstandings about nonviolence and many people find direct action as a way of protest bizarre. Conservative media suggest that while nonviolent direct action had its place during the dictatorship, it is not legitimate in a democracy. However, after last year's candlelight rallies against the government decision to import US beef, the call for nonviolence is now better known in Korean society.

Editorial

Andreas Speck

The extremely difficult situation of conscientious objectors in South Korea has so far not been known to a broader public. Until only a few years ago, it has not even been known to those working on conscientious objection internationally, including War Resisters' International.

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