In many cities all over the world anti-militarists and CO groups will be active on 15 May, marking International Conscientious Objectors' Day. WRI received some information on activities in different countries - a small hint on what will be happening.
International action to mark International Conscientious Objectors' Day, organised by War Resisters' International
15 May is International Conscientious Objectors' Day. For War Resisters' International and its affiliates this is one important opportunity to act for the right to refuse to kill, to raise awareness for conscientious objection and against militarism.
On 6th April 2002 a new Defense law was passed in Croatia. One of the most important facts from this law is that it clearly states that civil (alternative) service will be regulated by a separate law, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice (at present) or the Ministry of Labour and social welfare.
Yugoslavia passed a new law on the Yuguslav army in January 2002, but this law still doesn't include any regulation on conscientious objection. Conscientious objectors can only perform a service without arms within the Yugoslav army - clearly not satisfactory for conscientious objectors. Media reports lead to quite some confusion. Some media wrote about a "military civilian service", and some even presented this option as a genuine civilian service, so that many conscripts got quite confused.
The debate about conscientious objection - is it basically a human right, or is it an antimilitarist action? - is an old debate within War Resisters' International, but still relevant. Here, Andreas Speck, WRI staff, and Bart Horeman, WRI Treasurer, discuss this question.