War Resisters' International statement in support of Moon Myungjin, conscientious objector from the Republic of Korea
War Resisters' International, an international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations founded in 1921, and with more than 80 affiliated organisations in more than 40 countries, expresses its support to conscientious objector Moon Myungjin and all other conscientious objectors in the Republic of Korea.
War Resisters' International was founded based on the following declaration from 1921:
“War is a crime against humanity.
I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.”
For War Resisters' International, conscientious objection to military service is a consequent act based on our founding statement – the refusal to support any kind of war. WRI strongly believes that only when individuals take responsibility for their actions, and refuse to take part in war and the preparation of war through military training and military service will we be able to overcome war and violence, and to create a world based on nonviolence, respect, and justice.
When War Resisters' International was founded in 1921, the right to conscientious objection was only recognised in two countries. Today, it is a universal human rights, derived from article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Republic of Korea is a party. In fact, the Republic of Korea has been repeatedly told by the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations that by not recognising the right to conscientious objection and by imprisoning conscientious objectors, it is violating article 18 of the ICCPR.
War Resisters' International has been working with Korea Solidarity for Conscientious Objection (KSCO) and World Without War (WWW) from the very beginning – our first contacts go back to 1998, prior to the movement for conscientious objection. Since then, WRI has supported and accompanied the movement for conscientious objection in the Republic of Korea.
Moon Myungjin is well known to War Resisters' International, and has participated in several WRI seminars and events – among others an exchange on nonviolence training in Bilbao, Spain, in October 2008, and an international conference on “Globalising Nonviolence” in Paderborn, Germany, in 2006.
He also volunteered in the WRI office in London from January to March 2009, and helped organise the international training and action for the International Day on Conscientious Objection in Seoul in May 2009. While in London, he also participated in a series of nonviolence trainings organised by the Turning the Tide programme of Quaker Peace and Social Witness.
We know Moon Myungjin as a thoughtful and sincere conscientious objector, who is strongly convinced of nonviolence, as he expresses in his declaration of conscientious objection.
For conscientious objectors like Moon Myungjin, and for WRI, the problems of “security” cannot be solved by military means. We see conscientious objection and abolishing conscription as first steps in the direction to total disarmament and demilitarisation of the entire world, which would set free huge amounts of resources to deal with the real problems the world is facing today: social problems, economical problems, problems of social justice and of healing the wounds of the past. None of these problems can be solved by military means, and it requires all our energy, all our creativity, and a peace that is more than the absence of war to work towards these goals.
War Resisters' International will support Moon Myungjin in his struggle for the recognition of his right to conscientious objection, as we support other conscientious objectors in the Republic of Korea and elsewhere in the world. Moon Myungjin and other conscientious objectors, through their conscientious objection and other nonviolent action, are building the foundations for a world based on nonviolence, respect, peace, and justice.
War Resisters' International, London, 6 January 2011