Right to Refuse to Kill

War Resisters' International's programme The Right to Refuse to Kill combines a wide range of activities to support conscientious objectors individually, as well as organised groups and movements for conscientious objection.

Our main publications are CO-Alerts (advocacy alerts sent out whenever a conscientious objector is prosecuted) and CO-Updates (a bimonthly look at developments in conscientious objection around the world).

We maintain the CO Guide - A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System, which can help COs to challenge their own governments, and protect themselves from human rights abuses.

Information about how nation states treat conscientious objectors can be found in our World Survey of Conscientious Objection and recruitment.

More info on the programme is available here.

In a joint appeal to members of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a broad civil society alliance from 20 countries has called on the European governments to grant protection and asylum to Russian and Belarusian as well as Ukrainian conscientious objectors and deserters. They need immediate protection and asylum.

The Union of Conscientious Objection Finland (AKL) condemns Russia’s war in Ukraine in violation of international law. The Union is concerned that, according to several sources, Russia has used not only contract soldiers but also ordinary conscripts to attack.

There are many shortcomings in the exercise of the right to conscientious objection in Russia, and many of those ordered in the war of aggression are likely to be there against their will. Those ordered and refused military action run the risk of being prosecuted and severely punished in Russia.

On March 10th, IFOR -with a statement co-sponsored by War Resisters' International, participated in a session at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The statement presented at the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, addressed the issue of the right to conscientious objection to military service in the plenary.

Read the full statement below.

Dear conscientious objectors to military service, today we mark our CO day while war is being waged.

As the war with Ukraine began, the notion of refusing military service in Russia has become especially topical. Before the war, most conscripts and their relatives did not associate military service as conscripts with actual warfare. Conscription appeared to be something akin to a sports camp with elements of military training.

Ahead of the hearing before the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, of the cases of Charis Vasileiou and Nikolas Stefanidis, conscientious objectors to military service whose applications have been rejected by the Deputy Minister of National Defence, Amnesty International, Connection e.V., the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and War Resisters’ International (WRI) call on the Greek authorities to annul the decisions of rejection and grant them a fair examin

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