On the International Day of Peace, September 21st 2023, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), War Resisters’ International (WRI), the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), and Connection e.V. (Germany) urge the involved countries in the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine to mobilise for peace instead of war, and the EU and the international community to invest in diplomacy and negotiations instead of weapons and militarism.
IFOR, WRI, EBCO and Connection e.V. call Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to safeguard the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as the right to freedom of expression, fully complying with the European and international standards, amongst others the standards set by the European Court of Human Rights. The right to conscientious objection to military service is inherent in the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, guaranteed under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is non-derogable even in a time of public emergency, as stated in Article 4(2) of ICCPR.
The four organisations support:
- the #ObjectWarCampaign: Protection and asylum for all deserters and conscientious objectors to military service from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine.
- the appeal to the European Commission and the European Parliament about necessary measures for the international protection of Russian conscientious objectors, deserters and those who surrendered or were captured.
- the campaign to drop all charges against Yurii Sheliazhenko, Executive Secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, who is under partial house arrest since August 15th 2023, and his next court hearing is on October 3rd 2023.
- the #protection4olga campaign: Protection and asylum for Olga Karatch, director of the Belarusian organisation "Our House" in Lithuania, whose application for political asylum was rejected by the Lithuanian authorities on August 18th 2023.
- the IPB intention to nominate three remarkable organizations with a focus on the right to conscientious objection for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize; the Russian Movement of Conscientious Objectors, the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, and the Belarusian Our House, in recognition of their great work, their tangible contribution to peace and their considerable stigmatisation as defenders of peace, conscientious objection and human rights, especially after the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
FOR INTERVIEWS please contact:
- Christian Renoux, International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ifor.org
- Semih Sapmaz, War Resisters’ International (WRI), email@example.com, www.wri-irg.org
- Alexia Tsouni, European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ebco-beoc.org
- Rudi Friedrich, Connection e.V., office@Connection-eV.org, www.Connection-eV.org
- Maria Alexandrova, Russian Movement of Conscientious Objectors, email@example.com, https://stoparmy.org/en
- Yurii Sheliazhenko, Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://pacifism.org.ua/
- Olga Karatch, Belarusian Our House, email@example.com, https://news.house/