This issue of CO-Update starts not with a new announcement of a country abolishing or suspending conscription, but rather with the opposite: the military regime of Burma is introducing conscription. The consequences will be dire - the predictions go from more corruption to get exempted to more youth fleeing the country to avoid serving in the military. It's probably not necessary to highlight that Burma does not recognise the right to conscientious objection.
The military regime of Burma passed a conscription law on 4 November 2010, introducing conscription for men and women in the country. Already the 2008 Constitution, approved in 2008 in a referendum that opposition parties condemned as "sham", includes a new article allowing for conscription. Article 386 of Chapter VIII of the Constitution, titled "Citizen, Fundamental Rights and Duties of the Citizens" states: "Every citizen has the duty to undergo military training in accord with the provisions of the law and to serve in the Armed Forces to defend the Union."
In Turkey, the persecution of antimilitarists continues. In January 2011, the Eskişehir Public Prosecutor’s Office has filed an indictment against five people who lent support to conscientious objector Enver Aydemir, on charges of “alienating the people from the military” (article 318 Turkish Penal Code).
The Ministry of Defence of Britain released the numbers of conscientious objection applications since 2001, following a Freedom of Information request. According to the information provided by the MOD, there have in total been nine CO applications from 2001 until 2010, of which six have been successful. Between 1990 and 2000, 13 Royal Navy personnel and one soldier applied for conscientious objector status, a separate Freedom of Information response shows.
In December 2010, the US House of Representatives and the Senate both voted to repeal the policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT), introduced by then President Bill Clinton in 1993 in relation to gay and lesbian service personnell. US President Obama signed the act on 22 December 2010. Although the bill will not come into force immediately, it is already being praised as a major victory for gays and lesbians in the USA.
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.