International Action #RefuseWar – Join in!

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RefuseWar campaign poster

Around the world, wars kill millions, destroy communities, and ruin vast landscapes, while plundering the future of humanity and lining the pockets of war profiteers. But where there is war, there are people who resist war and the war machine.

Be one of us!

Sergej (Russia) says: "I object to war because every war is waged to grab or expand power. I stand for staying true to your conviction and speaking out against it."

On the occasion of International Conscientious Objection Day, on 15th May, 2024, we are launching the international action #RefuseWar to support worldwide the refusal of war and the right to conscientious objection. This action is broadening our #ObjectWarCampaign that was launched after the start of the war in Ukraine to call for support and protection for conscientious objectors, deserters, and war resisters from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

Maria (Italy) says: "I refuse to being forced to bow to the violent system of war. I stand for the universal right to conscientious objection."

With public declarations of refusal and solidarity, we not only want to draw attention to the terrible consequences of wars, but speak out firmly against militarism, military service, and war preparations. We want to support those who object and desert to war in Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, Colombia, Yemen, Sudan, and other countries and multiply the voices of those who are concerned by an increase in the militarisation of societies, politics, and economies worldwide. 

How to join the #RefuseWar action? 

Refuse War poster

We invite you to join our international #RefuseWar campaign by declaring your opposition to military service in your country and/or your solidarity with conscientious objectors, deserters, and war resisters worldwide. This is an international public campaign aiming at interrupting the hegemonic public discourse favouring the militarisation of societies worldwide, it is not an appeal to officially declare your conscientious objection to the military authorities in your country (read more why below at “disclaimer”).

We collect all kinds of personal declarations and statements with which we would like to go public at a later date (e.g. with a booklet, a press release, an open letter to politicians, etc.) from individuals and groups – whether they consist of just a few sentences or a comprehensive text, a photo, or a video statement, that is up to you and your preferred way of sharing your thoughts of resistance. You are also welcome to make use of our template and complete the sentences: „I object/refuse to …“ and „I stand for …“.

Sofia (Israel) says: "I refuse because there are no winners in war.  I stand for a peaceful and political solution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine."

You have three options to join in the #RefuseWar global action:

  • You can contribute acting directly in the interactive #RefuseWar map where all submitted and authorized statements are published. Once you have uploaded your contribution – click on the little pink plus bullet, and the let system update the map –  it will then take a little bit for your statement to be shown.
  • You can create a written statement, a photo, or a short video (no longer than 30 seconds) and upload it to your social media accounts adding the hashtag #RefuseWar. You also find templates for printing a poster here (scroll down for English) which you can use for a photo to be posted.
  • And you can simply send us an email to refusewar@refusewar.org and we will publish your statement on #RefuseWar.

We are looking forward to your contribution to our interactive map with your statements against militarism and war and in international solidarity with all those who object to military service and war efforts. Thank you!

Against militarisation and war: Additional resources

We invite you to draft your declaration and/or solidarity statement #RefuseWar and, if desired, refer to additional and intersecting topics. Here’s is a selection of resources to find out more about the following topics:

Refuse War poster

Our aim

We aim to show broad solidarity with conscientious objectors, deserters, and war resisters worldwide – and in particular with those who are persecuted (or face persecution), jailed, and exposed to state violence like, Mustafa Hürben (Cyprus), Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal (Thailand) and Sophia Orr (Israel).

At the same time, we would like to send a powerful signal against military service in our countries of origin, as there are repeated calls for the (re)introduction of compulsory military service in the EU member states, especially since the start of the war in Ukraine. We firmly oppose this development and demand the definitive abolition of all compulsory state services, including compulsory military service, and full respect for the inalienable human right to conscientious objection!

On International Conscientious Objection Day on 15th May, 2024, we call on governments worldwide to immediately end the persecution of conscientious objectors and deserters and to release imprisoned war resisters. We appeal to the European Union to open its borders to opponents of war and to provide protection and asylum for all those who object to war and therefore, have to flee their countries.

We call on organisations worldwide to support the global action #RefuseWar by sending us your logo to info@wri-irg.org to add it to the main website of #RefuseWar. We ask you as well to spread this call through your networks.

Disclaimer

We call for political declarations of conscientious objection and solidarity statements against military service and war as part of a public campaign and not for the submission of official applications for conscientious objection to the military authorities of your countries (namely applications for conscientious objection within the war and forced service system itself). Of course, you can also opt for an official declaration, but in this case, you usually have to undergo a military muster first – a degrading procedure and human rights violation itself. In addition, by submitting an official application for conscientious objection to military service objection to the military authorities in your country, you would provide the military authorities with sensitive personal data. This is an unnecessary step, as compulsory military service is currently suspended in many countries.

Data privacy

A short remark regarding our interactive map on #RefuseWar. The map uses the Open Street Map (OSM) as an alternative to Google Maps to protect your data as much as possible.

#RefuseWar is initiated by Connection e.V.War Resisters International European Bureau for Conscientious Objection.

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