Welcome to the first issue of CO-Update of 2011 - War Resisters' International hopes that 2011 will be more peaceful than 2010, and that we will make progress on the issue of recognition of the right to conscientious objection.
The German parliament approved amendments to the conscription law on 15 December 2010, which will suspend conscription from 1 July 2011 on. The last conscripts will start their compulsory military service on 3 January 2011 for six months.
Besides suspending conscription in peace time, the medical examination of potential recruits will also be suspended.
Michael Lyons, a medical worker in the British navy, was denied recognition as conscientious objector on 17 December 2010. Michael Lyons joined up in 2005, aged 18. Since then he has stopped to
think more about his work, partly prompted by researching information about the war in Afghanistan after being told some months ago that he would be deployed there in 2011. He applied for conscientious objection after reading of the "enormous under-reporting of civilian casualties in the conflict I was about to enter", according to the Buxton Advisor.
Chosun Ilbo reported on 22 December 2010 that compulsory military service will be frozen at 21 months, and will not be reduced to 18 months, as originally planned. The step, which is a response to the mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula, puts the brakes on a gradual reduction of conscription from 24 months to 18 months for the Army, 20 months for the Navy and 21 months for the Air Force, which was announced in September 2007.
War Resisters' International's latest book publication Women Conscientious Objectors - An Anthology, published in April 2010, is now also available online. The book breaks with the assumption that conscientious objectors are generally seen as male - as are soldiers. Women conscientiously object to military service and militarism. Not only in countries which conscript women - such as Eritrea and Israel - but also in countries without conscription of women.