Russia: Stop the raids and detention of conscripts in Moscow

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Organisations logos of EBCO, WRI,IFOR and Connection e.V.

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), War Resisters’ International (WRI), the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), and Connection e.V. strongly condemn the raids, detentions and practices of forced recruitment carried out by the Russian authorities from 25th to 27th May in Moscow.

We urge the Russian authorities to fully respect the human right to conscientious objection to military service, which 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), and so is non-derogable even in a time of public emergency, as stated in Article 4(2) of ICCPR.

From 25th to 27th May 2024, in Moscow, police officers, with the participation of the Moscow draft board and the "Unified Draft Office," carried out raids and detained an estimated number of 40 to 60 men of draft age. Following their detention, the men, between ages of 18 to 30, were taken to the "Assembly Point" located at 3 Ugreshskaya Street, building 6.

The Moscow draft board, as well as the "Unified Draft Office," considered these individuals as conscripts subject to military service. Most of the detained individuals not only had conditions falling under category "B" (conditionally fit for military service), but also had submitted complaints (lawsuits) to the Moscow draft commission or courts, requesting preliminary protective measures.

The procedure for conscription was grossly violated by the staff of the "Assembly Point," as well as the constitutional right of citizens to judicial protection of their rights and freedoms.

Conscripts were literally locked in the premises of the "Assembly Point," forcibly shaved, forcibly dressed in military uniforms, and were firmly informed that they now had the status of servicemen. Moreover, legal representatives, attorneys, and authorized representatives were not allowed into the territory of the "Assembly Point." Subsequently, some men were forcibly sent to the territory of the military unit "Mosrentgen", presumably to the territory of the 27th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade.

Since the first day of the raids, the Movement of Conscientious Objectors (MCO) has been providing advisory assistance to conscripts and their parents. MCO said: “Our colleagues, lawyers, and attorneys working around the "Assembly Point" in Moscow”.

EBCO, WRI, Connection e.V. and IFOR stand in solidarity with conscientious objectors to military service in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and continue working on the #ObjectWarCampaign which supports and organises solidarity for conscientious objectors from these countries.

For a detailed report on the situation of conscientious objectors from Russia, as well as Ukraine and Belarus, see EBCO’s recently published Annual Report “Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2023/24”, which is available on the EBCO website (www.ebco-beoc.org).

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