Right to Refuse to Kill https://wri-irg.org/en en Webinar: Conscientious objection and international solidarity - the case of Turkey https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/webinar-conscientious-objection-and-international-solidarity-case-turkey <div data-history-node-id="42394" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2021-05/14mayflyer-website.png?itok=pAxjaXMh 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/png"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-05/14mayflyer-website.png?itok=kzOggYlj 1x" type="image/png"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-05/14mayflyer-website.png?itok=kzOggYlj" alt="Webinar flyer" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 06 May 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>Date and Time: 14th May, 3:30pm BST, 4:30pm CEST, 5:30pm Turkey  </strong></p> <p>The webinar series <em>Campaigning for Conscientious Objection to Military Service</em> continues with a new event marking <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/co-day-2021-solidarity-conscientious-objectors-turkey">International Conscientious Objection Day</a>. </p> <p>In our next webinar, we are focusing on Turkey with campaigners and conscientious objectors (COs) who will share information on the experiences of COs in Turkey as well as their campaigns.</p> <p>In Turkey, there is conscription and the right to conscientious objection isn’t recognised. It means that anyone who refuses to perform compulsory military service faces lifetime persecution, including continuous arrest warrants and repeated prosecutions amounting to “civil death” – a term being used to describe their exclusion from social, cultural and economic life.</p> <p>In this webinar, we will hear directly from COs themselves as well as the activists who campaign for the recognition of the right to conscientious objection in Turkey. </p> <p><strong>Speakers will include:</strong></p> <ul> <li aria-level="1"><strong>Dr Mine Yıldırım</strong>, Head of the Freedom of Belief Initiative, Norwegian Helsinki Committee </li> <li aria-level="1"><strong>Merve Arkun</strong>, Coordinator, Conscientious Objection Association, Turkey</li> <li aria-level="1"><strong>Seyda Can Yılmaz</strong>, Conscientious objector</li> <li aria-level="1"><strong>Onur Erden</strong>, Conscientious objector</li> <li aria-level="1"><strong>Ercan Jan Aktaş</strong>, Conscientious objector</li> </ul> <p>For more background information on conscientious objection in Turkey and our campaign on International Conscientious Objection Day, see <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/co-day-2021-solidarity-conscientious-objectors-turkey">here</a>.</p> <h2>Date and Time</h2> <p>14th May, 3:30pm BST, 4:30pm CEST, 5:30pm Turkey  </p> <h2>Registration</h2> <p>This event is free however registration is required.<strong> </strong>Please use the link here to register: <a href="https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcld-2vrjktH9OKOVFc7g8q3k2sRCmOKYaC" target="_blank">https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcld-2vrjktH9OKOVFc7g8q3k2sRCmOKYaC</a></p> <h2>Language/Translation</h2> <p>This event will be in English, Turkish and Spanish. </p> <p>The event will last for 1 hour and 30 minutes including Q&amp;A in the end. The webinar will also be followed by a 30-minute community forum allowing a space for attendees to share any relevant updates from their work and countries.</p> <p>This webinar is part of a series <em>Campaigning for Conscientious Objection to Military Service</em> organised by <strong>War Resisters’ International</strong>, <em><a href="https://quno.org/">Quaker United Nations Office</a></em> and <em><a href="http://www.ifor.org/#mission">International Fellowship of Reconciliation</a></em>. Follow us on our websites and social media for updates on future events.</p> <p>We are looking forward to meeting you on 14th May!</p> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/programmes/international-conscientious-objection-day" hreflang="en">International Conscientious Objection Day</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/256" hreflang="en">Turkey</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42394&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="s1cuD0hvAmyju3HThLkTlfz9kzb91Afr6zAP37MfV9c"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 06 May 2021 17:10:26 +0000 cmoy 42394 at https://wri-irg.org Greece: WRI Submission to the UPR on https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/greece-wri-submission-upr <div data-history-node-id="42392" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <time > 15 Apr 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="margin-bottom:11px"><strong>In March 2021</strong>, War Resisters’ International<a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-04/wri-upr_submission-greece-25-03-2021.pdf"> has submitted a report</a> in the context of the 3rd Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of Greece by the UN Human Rights Council.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><strong>The report details numerous violations of human rights of conscientious objectors in Greece</strong>, including:</p> <ul> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to freedom from discrimination;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to the presumption of innocence;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">economic and social rights including the right of the worker to earn his living in an occupation freely entered upon;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to liberty;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the <em>ne bis in idem</em> principle;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right not to be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right not to be subjected to degrading treatment;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to be tried in his presence; the right to vote and to be elected;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to be free to leave any country, including his own;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to work;</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">the right to protection of property.</li> </ul> <p style="margin-bottom: 11px;"><strong>The report concludes with two suggested recommendations</strong>, one based on a recommendation made by Slovenia to Greece during the previous UPR cycle, and another referring to the relevant recommendations on conscientious objectors of the Human Rights Committee and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.</p> <p>You can <a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-04/wri-upr_submission-greece-25-03-2021.pdf">see the full report here</a>, or download below.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Attached file</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-04/wri-upr_submission-greece-25-03-2021.pdf" type="application/pdf; length=477531" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">wri-upr_submission-greece-25-03-2021.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">466.34 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/122" hreflang="en">Greece</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Institutions</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/272" hreflang="en">United Nations</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/438" hreflang="en">Universal Periodic Review (UPR)</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42392&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="5IxCj4FE-05g1EwyAAslc5pXygogPaYjl26zie2bYFc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 15 Apr 2021 11:54:45 +0000 cmoy 42392 at https://wri-irg.org Turkmenistan: Now 15 jailed conscientious objectors https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/turkmenistan-now-15-jailed-conscientious-objectors <div data-history-node-id="42351" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2018-03/turkmenistan-map.gif?itok=HaDv4gHd 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/gif"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2018-03/turkmenistan-map.gif?itok=cEpFZL8v 1x" type="image/gif"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2018-03/turkmenistan-map.gif?itok=cEpFZL8v" alt="Turkmenistan map" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 16 Feb 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-dynamic-twig-fieldnode-author-name-twig field--type-ds field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field--item"> <span>Felix Corley, Forum 18</span> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>A court in Lebap Region jailed 20-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Nazar Alliyev for one year for refusing compulsory military service. He is the seventh to be jailed in 2021 so far and joins 14 other jailed conscientious objectors (9 of them serving second sentences). "We deeply regret the criminalization of conscientious objection," four UN human rights Special Procedures wrote to the Turkmen government in December 2020, adding that Turkmenistan "must provide meaningful alternative service". The regime has not responded to the UN.</em></p> <p>On 10 February, a court in the eastern Lebap Region jailed 20-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Nazar Alliyev for one year for refusing compulsory military service. He is the seventh conscientious objector known to have been jailed so far in 2021. All had offered to perform an alternative civilian service, but Turkmenistan does not offer this. Turkmenistan has rejected repeated United Nations calls to introduce such a service.</p> <p>Courts jailed six Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors in January, five of them within the space of two days. As all six had already served earlier sentences on the same charges, courts handed all of them a two-year jail term, five of them in a strict-regime labour camp (see below).</p> <p>The jailing of Alliyev brings to 15 the number of young conscientious objectors to military service known to have been convicted and to be currently serving jail sentences (see full list below).</p> <p>This new case brings to 31 the number of known convictions and jailings of conscientious objectors since Turkmenistan <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2363">resumed such jailings in January 2018</a>. All of them are Jehovah's Witnesses.</p> <p>An increasing number of conscientious objectors to military service are serving second sentences for the same "crime". Nine of the current 15 known conscientious objector prisoners – including all six sentenced in January - are serving second sentences (see below).</p> <p>Six Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors were freed from Seydi Labour Camp in 2020 <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2628">after serving their sentences in full</a>.</p> <p>An aide to the chief specialist Nasrullah ibn Ibadullah at the regime's <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">Commission for Work with Religious Organisations and Expert Analysis of Resources Containing Religious Information, Published and Printed Production</a> told Forum 18 on 12 February that he was not in the office and that his mobile phone was not working. Asked about the jailings of conscientious objectors, the aide said he was not informed and put the phone down (see below).</p> <p>The telephones of Yusupgeldi Durdiyev, the Cabinet of Ministers official who chairs the regime's Commission controlling religious communities; of the office of the regime-appointed Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova; and of Yusupguly Eshshayev, the regime-appointed Chair of the Mejlis (Parliament) Human Rights Committee, went unanswered each time Forum 18 called on 12 February (see below).</p> <p>Jehovah's Witnesses are conscientious objectors to military service and do not undertake any kind of activity supporting any country's military. But they are willing to undertake an alternative, totally civilian form of service, as is <a href="https://www.quno.org/sites/default/files/resources/QUNO%202015%20RB%20Conscientious%20Objection%20FINAL.pdf">the right of all conscientious objectors to military service under international human rights law</a>.</p> <p>Turkmenistan has ignored repeated international calls, for example by <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2476">the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee, to introduce a genuine civilian alternative to compulsory military service, to stop prosecuting and punishing conscientious objectors, and to compensate those it has punished</a>.</p> <p>The UN Human Rights Committee has published 13 Decisions in favour of 15 conscientious objectors from Turkmenistan, all of them Jehovah's Witnesses. In its most recent such Decision, published on 17 September 2019 (C/126/D/2302/2013), it ruled that the right to freedom of religion or belief of former conscientious objectors Juma Nazarov, Yadgarbek Sharipov, and Atamurad Suvhanov had been violated by their jailing (see below).</p> <p>On 10 December 2020, four UN human rights Special Procedures wrote to Turkmenistan's government expressing "serious concern" about the second sentences handed down in August 2020 to two of the conscientious objectors, Sanjarbek and Eldor Saburov. "We deeply regret the criminalization of conscientious objection," they wrote, adding that Turkmenistan "must provide meaningful alternative service". The regime does not appear to have responded within the requested 60 days (see below).</p> <p>Asked why the regime is not willing to introduce a civilian alternative service in line with repeated UN recommendations, and why young men continue to be imprisoned, an official of the Foreign Ministry's International Organisations Department told Forum 18 in August 2020 that Turkmenistan "is dealing with these bodies, including the UN". He said he did not agree that Turkmenistan was failing to implement UN human rights recommendations (see below).</p> <p>Another Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector former prisoner, Arslan Begenchov, lodged a case to the UN Human Rights Committee in 2018 and is awaiting a decision (see below).</p> <p>Jehovah's Witnesses filed a complaint with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in May 2020 <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2590">on behalf of 19 current or former jailed conscientious objectors</a>. The 19 men include some of those currently imprisoned in Seydi Labour Camp, plus others who have been released after serving earlier sentences.</p> <p>Other prisoners of conscience jailed for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief – all of them Muslims – are serving far longer jail terms (see below).</p> <p>The regime admitted to the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2020 that two jailed Muslims – both in their mid-thirties - had died in prison in 2016. It claimed that they had both died of a "chronic illness" (see below).</p> <h2>Latest prosecution</h2> <p>Hojambaz District Military Conscription Office in the eastern Lebap Region summoned Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Nazar Palvanovich Alliyev (born 12 December 2000) in autumn 2019. However, as he was living in another city he decided not to go, Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. Conscription officers stepped up their search for Alliyev in April 2020, visiting his mother, workplace and neighbours.</p> <p>On 16 May 2020, when Alliyev was visiting his mother, several conscription officers took him by force to Lebap Region Military Conscription Office. There officers tried to get him to put on a military uniform, but he refused. Alliyev filed a statement refusing military service. He also mentioned that in 2015 he had been diagnosed with a heart disease, myocarditis and mitral valve prolapse (grade 1). The officer threatened to send him to the army by force.</p> <p>After that, officers took him to the city Military Conscription Office, where they held him for one night. They told him that the court hearing against him was scheduled for 19 May 2020. However, no court hearing took place. Instead officers took him to the hospital for electrocardiogram and rheumatism tests. He was stated fit for military service.</p> <p>Alliyev filed an application stating that he would not come to be sent off to the military unit. In addition, under great pressure, his mother signed the application, that she agreed for a criminal case to be initiated against her son. Officers confiscated Alliyev's passport.</p> <p>Hojambaz District Military Conscription Office wrote to Alliyev stating that no alternative service is available in Turkmenistan. In June 2020 Alliyev filed another statement refusing military service and explaining his religious objections to undertaking military service.</p> <p>In December 2020, the Prosecutor's Office several times summoned Alliyev, along with his mother. There he wrote a statement explaining his position. Alliyev underwent another medical examination in the district and regional conscription offices. He filed written statements and an application to the Prosecutor's Office.</p> <p>The investigator summoned Alliyev for interrogation on 4 January 2021, telling him a case was being opened against him under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1. This punishes refusal to serve in the armed forces in peacetime with a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment or two years' corrective labour. The indictment was completed on 26 January. Alliyev had to sign a pledge not to leave the area in the run-up to his trial.</p> <h2>One-year jail term</h2> <p>In the run-up to his trial, Alliyev rejected the free lawyer assigned by the state. He chose his own lawyer, who agreed to cite United Nations Human Rights Committee decisions regarding military service in Turkmenistan. These had found that the authorities had violated the rights of conscientious objectors by punishing them for refusing military service (see below).</p> <p>At Alliyev's trial at Hojambaz District Court on 10 February, he told the court that he is willing to perform an alternative, civilian service. His lawyer cited the Human Rights Committee decisions. However, Judge Merdan Amanov did not take these decisions into account and convicted Alliyev under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1. He handed down a one year sentence in an ordinary regime labour camp. "The hearing was held in a respectful manner," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18.</p> <p>Alliyev was arrested in the courtroom after the verdict was handed down and taken to the pre-trial detention prison LB-E/9 in Turkmenabat.</p> <p>The telephone of Hojambaz District Court went unanswered each time Forum 18 called on 12 February.</p> <p>Alliyev is intending to appeal against his conviction, Jehovah's Witnesses added. If this fails, he is likely to be transferred to the ordinary regime labour camp LB-E/12 in Seydi, where eight of the convicted conscientious objectors are already serving their sentences (see below).</p> <h2>Six January 2021 trials, convictions, jailings</h2> <p>Courts jailed six Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors in January, five of them within the space of two days. As all six had already served an earlier sentence on the same charges, courts handed all of them a two-year jail term, five of them in a strict-regime labour camp.</p> <p>A Judge at Sayat District Court in Lebap Region sentenced Ruslan Artykmuradov to the maximum term of two years in a strict-regime labour camp.</p> <p>Judges at Danev District Court in Lebap Region sentenced Azamatjan Narkulyev, Artur Yangibayev, Maksat Jumadurdiyev and Veniamin Genjiyev to the maximum term of two years. Narkulyev, Jumadurdiyev and Genjiyev were given strict-regime labour camp sentences and Yangibayev ordinary regime.</p> <p>A Judge at Gurbansoltan eje District Court in Dashoguz Region sentenced Ikhlosbek Rozmetov to the maximum term of two years in a strict-regime labour camp.</p> <p>All were jailed under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1. This punishes refusal to serve in the armed forces in peacetime with a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment or two years' corrective labour.</p> <p>Artykmuradov, Narkulyev, Yangibayev and Jumadurdiyev chose not to appeal against their latest convictions and they have now entered legal force.</p> <h2>Second convictions increasing</h2> <p>A growing number of conscientious objectors are being convicted twice on the same charges when they continue to refuse renewed call-up to compulsory military service after completing their first sentences.</p> <p>Nine of the current conscientious objector prisoners (all of them Jehovah's Witnesses) have been convicted twice of the same "crime" since Turkmenistan <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2363">restarted jailings of conscientious objectors in January 2018</a>.</p> <p>In its December 2020 letter about the cases of two of those sentenced for a second time, four UN human rights Special Procedures pointed out to Turkmenistan's government that sentencing individuals for the second time for the same "crime" violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (see below).</p> <h2>No alternative to compulsory military service</h2> <p>Turkmenistan offers <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">no alternative to its compulsory military service</a>. Military service for men between the ages of 18 and 27 is generally two years. Article 58 of the 2016 Constitution describes defence as a "sacred duty" of everyone and states that military service is compulsory for men.</p> <p>Young men who refuse military service on grounds of conscience generally face prosecution under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1. This punishes refusal to serve in the armed forces in peacetime with a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment or two years' corrective labour.</p> <p>Criminal Code Article 219, Part 2 punishes refusal to serve in the armed forces in peacetime "by means of inflicting injury to oneself, or by simulation of illness, by means of forgery of documents, or other fraudulent ways". Punishment is a jail term of one to four years. The first known use of Article 219, Part 2 to punish a conscientious objector was the case of Azat Ashirov, while Serdar Dovletov's case was the second (see below).</p> <p>From 2014, <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">courts punished conscientious objectors with corrective labour or suspended prison terms</a>, rather than imprisonment. However, jailings resumed in January 2018.</p> <p>Courts <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2443">jailed 12 conscientious objectors in 2018, two of them for two years and 10 for one year.</a> Courts <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2522">jailed 7 conscientious objectors in 2019, one of them for four years, one for three years, one for two years and four for one year</a>. Courts jailed 5 conscientious objectors in 2020, four of them for two years and one for one year.</p> <h2>Calls for alternative civilian service ignored</h2> <p>Turkmenistan has ignored repeated international calls to introduce an alternative to compulsory military service. In March 2017, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2320">adopted Concluding Observations on Turkmenistan's human rights record</a> (CCPR/C/TKM/CO/2).</p> <p>The Committee stated: "The State party should revise its legislation without undue delay with a view to clearly recognizing the right to conscientious objection to military service, provide for alternative service of a civilian nature outside the military sphere and not under military command for conscientious objectors, and halt all prosecutions of individuals who refuse to perform military service on grounds of conscience and release those who are currently serving prison sentences."</p> <p>In its response to the Concluding Observations (CCPR/C/TKM/3), submitted to the Human Rights Committee on 27 March 2020, Turkmenistan failed to explain why young men with conscientious objections to military service are jailed and why they cannot perform an alternative civilian service. It merely repeated the regime's claim that <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">defending the country "is the sacred duty of every citizen"</a>.</p> <p>The most UN Human Rights Committee has repeatedly called for an alternative civilian service to be introduced. It has issued 13 Decisions in favour of 15 conscientious objectors from Turkmenistan, all of them Jehovah's Witnesses. In its most recent such Decision, published on 17 September 2019 (<a href="https://undocs.org/CCPR/C/126/D/2302/2013">CCPR/C/126/D/2302/2013</a>), it ruled that the right to freedom of religion or belief of former conscientious objectors Juma Nazarov, Yadgarbek Sharipov, and Atamurad Suvhanov had been violated by their jailing.</p> <p><a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1733">Nazarov</a> and <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1802">Sharipov were jailed in 2012</a>, and <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1817">Suvhanov (for the second time) in 2013</a>. The men had lodged their Human Rights Committee appeals in August 2013.</p> <p>All three men also complained of "inhuman and degrading treatment" after their arrests. The Human Rights Committee <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2519">stressed that Turkmenistan is under an obligation to make reparation to Nazarov, Sharipov and Suvhanov for the violations of their rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including to "expunge their criminal records and to provide them with adequate compensation. The State party is also under an obligation to avoid similar violations of the Covenant in the future"</a>.</p> <p>The Committee therefore urged Turkmenistan to meets its obligations to avoid similar violations such as by changing the law, <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2519">"for instance, by providing the possibility of exemption from service or alternative service of a civilian nature"</a>.</p> <p>Another conscientious objector former prisoner, Arslan Begenchov, lodged a case to the UN Human Rights Committee on 20 June 2018 and is awaiting a decision, Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. When <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2363">sentenced in Charjew to one year's imprisonment in January 2018, Begenchov was the first conscientious objector to be sentenced to prison since 2014</a>.</p> <h2>Protest by four UN special procedures</h2> <p>On 10 December 2020, four UN human rights Special Procedures wrote to Turkmenistan's government (<a href="https://www.spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=25740">AL TKM 2/2020</a>) expressing "serious concern at the conviction and detention of Messrs. Sanjarbek Saburov and Eldor Saburov for their refusal, based on their religious conscience and opinion, to perform military service".</p> <p>The Saburov brothers were <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2590">each jailed in August 2020 for two years</a>. "We also express our serious concern at the fact that the S. A. Niyazov District Court of the Dashoguz Region has yet to share with the family of the two brothers copies of its [August] 2020 decision", the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues wrote.</p> <p>The December 2020 Communication also expressed concern that the Saburov brothers were convicted and punished a second time, "which is a violation of the rule against double jeopardy, or non bis in idem, enshrined in article 14(7) ["Right to equality before courts and tribunals and to fair trial"] of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".</p> <p>"We deeply regret the criminalization of conscientious objection," the UN human rights Special Procedures wrote. Turkmenistan "must provide meaningful alternative service, that is, it must be <a href="https://www.quno.org/sites/default/files/resources/QUNO%202015%20RB%20Conscientious%20Objection%20FINAL.pdf">compatible with the reasons for the conscientious objection</a>, of a non-combatant or civilian character, in the public interest and must not be punitive of character".</p> <p>The UN Special Procedures asked the government to comment on the cases and explain why the Saburov brothers were convicted for a second time. "Please provide detailed information on the measures undertaken to ensure that persons, including those who are members of religious or belief minorities, who refuse to perform military service based on their conscience, religion or belief are not criminally prosecuted and punished, and that their right to freedom of religion or belief is respected and protected," they also asked.</p> <p>The regime does not appear to have responded to the UN within the requested 60 days.</p> <h2>Jehovah's Witnesses push for alternative civilian service</h2> <p>Jehovah's Witnesses have urged Turkmenistan's government to introduce a civilian alternative to compulsory military service. In March 2020, local Jehovah's Witnesses visited the regime's <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">Commission for Work with Religious Organisations and Expert Analysis of Resources Containing Religious Information, Published and Printed Production</a> in the capital Ashgabat.</p> <p>At the Commission, the Jehovah's Witnesses raised the issue of an alternative civilian service, as well as pushing for the government to <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">allow their communities to gain official registration (officials have always rejected such applications)</a>, to end harassment of young Jehovah's Witnesses and to allow a visit by foreign Jehovah's Witnesses.</p> <p>"The meeting was cordial," Jehovah's Witnesses noted, "but the official recommended contacting the appropriate Ministries and commented specifically that he was unable personally to resolve the matter of registration."</p> <p>The Commission's chief specialist Nasrullah ibn Ibadullah was not in the office on 12 February 2021 and an aide refused to discuss anything with Forum 18. The telephone of Yusupgeldi Durdiyev, the Cabinet of Ministers official who chairs the Commission, went unanswered the same day. (Both Durdiyev and Nasrullah are former imams.)</p> <h2>Why no alternative civilian service?</h2> <p>Forum 18 was unable to find out why the authorities will not introduce an alternative civilian service and why conscientious objectors who are willing to perform such an alternative service, like the 15 Jehovah's Witness young men, continue to be jailed.</p> <p>On 12 February 2021, the telephone at the office of the regime-appointed Human Rights Ombudsperson Yazdursun Gurbannazarova went unanswered. The telephone of Yusupguly Eshshayev, the regime-appointed Chair of the Mejlis (Parliament) Human Rights Committee, similarly went unanswered each time Forum 18 called the same day.</p> <p>Asked why the regime is not willing to introduce a civilian alternative service in line with repeated United Nations (UN) recommendations, and why young men continue to be imprisoned, Ata (last name unknown) of the Foreign Ministry's International Organisations Department told Forum 18 in August 2020 that Turkmenistan "is dealing with these bodies, including the UN".</p> <p>Ata said he did not agree that Turkmenistan is failing to implement UN human rights recommendations. "Our Department is dealing with difficult issues, including with the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the World Health Organisation, and the OSCE," he claimed. "We are trying to do our best."</p> <h2>Which labour camp?</h2> <p>Officials have <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2632">already told Yangibayev he will be transferred to the ordinary-regime Labour Camp LB-E/12 at Seydi</a>, Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. Eight other conscientious objectors jailed between 2019 and 2020 are held in these camps (see below).</p> <p>The other five prisoners of conscience sentenced in January – Artykmuradov, Narkulyev, Jumadurdiyev, Genjiyev and Rozmetov - are still being held in the pre-trial detention prison LB-E/9 in Turkmenabat. They do not know whether they will be sent to the strict-regime Labour Camp LB-E/11 at Seydi (located next to the ordinary-regime camp), or to the strict-regime Labour Camp MR-E/16 in Bayramali in Mary Region.</p> <p>A prisoner died of coronavirus on 14 August 2020 in the strict-regime Labour Camp LB-E/11, Turkmen.news noted on 24 August 2020. Regime officials claim that the country has no coronavirus infections.</p> <p>Conditions in labour camps <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">where prisoners of conscience are held are harsh</a>. Relatives who want to send food or other parcels to prisoners at either of the Seydi Labour Camps must bring the parcel to the marble arch in the remote village of Uchajy in neighbouring Mary Region, 150 kms (95 miles) away. Three times a month, prison guards collect the parcels to take them to the Labour Camps, Turkmen.news noted. Prisoners complain that parcels often are not handed over, or if they are fresh food has gone off, the news service added. Money can now be sent in parcels, but often is missing when a parcel is handed over.</p> <p>Prison authorities could send any of the other five conscientious objectors jailed in January to serve their sentences in the strict-regime Labour Camp MR-E/16 at Bayramali in Mary Region. Camp officials are known for high levels of corruption. After prison visits from relatives were banned in March 2020 because of coronavirus, prison guards began offering prisoners to buy food from them to make up for food parcels earlier brought by prisoners' relatives, Turkmen.news noted on 19 November 2020.</p> <p>In a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee, former Jehovah's Witness prisoner of conscience Aibek Salayev stated that <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2476">conditions in Seydi Labour Camp LB-E/12, where he was held, were "inhuman"</a>.</p> <p>Salayev noted that the Camp was "<a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2476">known for its overcrowdedness, harsh climatic conditions, scarce supplies of food, medication and personal hygiene products, and for tuberculosis, skin diseases, its very high mortality rate, and physical abuse"</a>. Officials also threatened him with rape in the Camp.</p> <p>The UN Human Rights Committee <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2476">found that Turkmenistan had violated the rights of Salayev and another Jehovah's Witness former prisoner of conscience Vladimir Nuryllayev.</a> The Views of the Committee on the case (<a href="https://www.undocs.org/CCPR/C/125/D/2448/2014">CCPR/C/125/D/2448/2014</a>) were adopted on 18 April 2019. It stated that Turkmenistan "is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future".</p> <h2>Eight conscientious objectors currently in Seydi Labour Camp</h2> <p>Fifteen Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors are known - as of 15 February - to be serving jail terms. Eight of them are currently imprisoned at the <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2244">harsh ordinary-regime Seydi Labour Camp</a> in the desert in Lebap Region.</p> <p>The address of the Seydi Labour Camp is:</p> <p>746222 Lebap velayat<br /> Seydi<br /> uchr. LB-E/12<br /> Turkmenistan</p> <h2>List of known jailed conscientious objectors</h2> <p>Fourteen conscientious objectors to compulsory military service (listed below in chronological order of sentence) – all of them Jehovah's Witnesses – are known to be jailed. Eleven are serving prison sentences under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1 ("Rejecting call-up to military service"), Ashirov and Dovletov under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 2, and Atahanov under Criminal Code Article 344, Part 2. Nine are serving second sentences.</p> <p>1) Bahtiyar Amirjanovich Atahanov; born 17 June 2000; sentenced 15 July 2019 Tejen City Court under Criminal Code Article 344, Part 2; appeal rejected 20 August 2019 Ahal Regional Court; four years' ordinary regime labour camp.</p> <p>2) Azat Gurbanmuhammedovich Ashirov, born 7 January 1999; sentenced 31 July 2019 Abadan District Court under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 2; appeal rejected 3 September 2019 Ashgabat City Court; two years' ordinary regime labour camp.</p> <p>3) Serdar Nurmuhammedovich Dovletov, born 2 December 1993; sentenced 12 November 2019 Bayramali City Court under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 2; appealed rejected 3 December 2019 Mary Regional Court; three years' ordinary regime labour camp.</p> <p>4) Kamiljan Ergashovich Ergashov, born 27 June 2001; sentenced 13 January 2020 Niyazov District Court under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; appeal rejected 4 February 2020 Dashoguz Regional Court; two years' ordinary regime labour camp.</p> <p>5) Vepa Bahromovich Matyakubov, born 19 August 1998; sentenced 17 February 2020 Boldumsaz District Court under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; appeal rejected 17 March 2020 Dashoguz Regional Court; two years' ordinary regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>6) Sanjarbek Davranbekovich Saburov, born 12 August 1994; sentenced 6 August 2020 Niyazov District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; appeal rejected 1 September 2020 Dashoguz Regional Court; two years' ordinary regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>7) Eldor Davranbekovich Saburov, born 9 April 1999; sentenced 6 August 2020 Niyazov District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; appeal rejected 1 September 2020 Dashoguz Regional Court; two years' ordinary regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>8) Myrat Baymukhammedovich Orazgeldiyev, born 6 May 2002; sentenced 3 September 2020 Vekilbazar District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; appeal rejected 29 September 2020 Mary Regional Court; one year's ordinary regime labour camp.</p> <p>9) Ruslan Khadynyaz oglu Artykmuradov; born 24 May 2000; sentenced 11 January 2021 Sayat District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; chose not to appeal; two years' strict regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>10) Azamatjan Narkulyevich Narkulyev, born 9 November 2000; sentenced 18 January 2021 Danev District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; chose not to appeal; two years' strict regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>11) Maksat Jumadurdiyevich Jumadurdiyev, born 15 May 2000; sentenced 18 January 2021 Danev District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; chose not to appeal; two years' strict regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>12) Artur Aydogdyyevich Yangibayev, born 22 April 1997; sentenced 18 January 2021 Danev District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; chose not to appeal; two years' ordinary regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>13) Veniamin Muslimovich Genjiyev, born 12 May 2000; sentenced 19 January 2021 Danev District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; appeal lodged to Lebap Regional Court; two years' strict regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>14) Ikhlosbek Valijon oglu Rozmetov, born 26 November 1997; sentenced 19 January 2021 Gurbansoltan eje District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; two years' strict regime labour camp (second sentence).</p> <p>15) Nazar Palvanovich Alliyev, born 12 December 2000; sentenced 10 February 2021 Hojambaz District Court, under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1; intends to appeal; one year's ordinary regime labour camp.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-information field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author information</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--authors-and-bios paragraph--id--_76 paragraph--view-mode--bio-only"> <div class="field field--name-field-bio field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Felix Corley, <em>Forum 18. </em>This article was first published on <a href="https://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2636"><em>Forum 18 </em></a>on 15th February 2021.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/209" hreflang="en">Turkmenistan</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42351&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="p42jlVduo6Qs_l1ynKcSmjfuL20XeCLgfc7mQ8H05Dc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Tue, 16 Feb 2021 13:30:30 +0000 cmoy 42351 at https://wri-irg.org Turkey: VR-DER bulletin on conscientious objection https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/turkey-vr-der-bulletin-conscientious-objection <div data-history-node-id="42362" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2021-03/screenshot_2021-03-01_at_16.48.30.png?itok=dcWV-oBb 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/png"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-03/screenshot_2021-03-01_at_16.48.30.png?itok=EDQtjQT3 1x" type="image/png"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-03/screenshot_2021-03-01_at_16.48.30.png?itok=EDQtjQT3" alt="VR-DER conscientious objection bulletin cover page" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 01 Mar 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="https://vicdaniret.org/the-first-issue-of-the-conscientious-objection-bulletin-translated-and-published/"><em>Conscientious Objection Association Turkey </em>(<em>VR- DER)</em></a> has released the first issue of its <a href="https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/65329562/vr-der-conscientious-objection-bulletin-november-december-2020"><em>Conscientious Objection Bulletin</em></a> including updates on conscientious objection to military service in Turkey.</p> <p>The bulletin, to be published bi-monthly, will be both in English and Turkish and will document the ongoing rights violations of conscientious objectors (COs) in Turkey.</p> <p>In its first issue it covers updates from November-December 2020, including declarations by conscientious objectors, rights violations of conscripts and conscientious objectors, as well as VR-DER's activities on supporting COs.</p> <p>You can <a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-03/vr-der_conscientious_objection_bulletin_november-december_2020.pdf"><strong>download</strong> <strong>the report here</strong></a>.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Attached file</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-03/vr-der_conscientious_objection_bulletin_november-december_2020.pdf" type="application/pdf; length=5652967" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">VR-DER conscientious objection bulletin</a></span><span class="file-size">5.39 MB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/256" hreflang="en">Turkey</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42362&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="0ABOybsOu58mZIVHniKRUEh7avWXz1rmKXRx3MglmCA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Mon, 01 Mar 2021 16:46:03 +0000 cmoy 42362 at https://wri-irg.org CO Day 2021: Conscientious Objection in Turkey https://wri-irg.org/en/CODay2021 <div data-history-node-id="42383" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <time > 08 Apr 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>On this page, you are able to find a number of useful resources on conscientious objection in Turkey. We will continue to update this page during April and May with new content and resources. </p> <h2>Reports and articles</h2> <p><strong>Read a short report</strong>, <a href="https://en.connection-ev.org/article:turkey-prosecution-of-conscientious-objectors">'Turkey: Prosecution of Conscientious Objectors',</a> by <em>Connection e.V.</em> giving background on the situation of conscientious objectors in Turkey <a href="https://en.connection-ev.org/article:turkey-prosecution-of-conscientious-objectors">here</a>.</p> <p><strong>Read </strong><em>Conscientious Objection Association -Turkey (VR-DER</em>)'s recent publication, <strong>Conscientious Objection Bulletin</strong>. <strong>See</strong> <a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-03/vr-der_conscientious_objection_bulletin_november-december_2020.pdf">here for the December issue</a> and <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MNZ4IaDBXZSz7-nQQcB665GbnIaGJVPS/view">here the February issue</a>.</p> <p><strong>See <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2020/council-europe-urges-turkey-recognise-conscientious-objection">here</a> the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers' decision</strong> in June 2020 urging Turkey to recognise the rights of conscientious objectors. See a joint report submitted to the Committee of Ministers by a number of organisations including WRI <a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2020-06/cm_submission_on_the_implementation_of_ulke_group_of_cases-2_0.pdf">here</a>.</p> <h2>Video reports by conscientious objectors in Turkey</h2> <p><strong>See <a href="https://youtu.be/vLkw9hOf7zE">here a short video report </a></strong>on conscientious objectors in Turkey here (with English subtitles): <a href="https://youtu.be/vLkw9hOf7zE">https://youtu.be/vLkw9hOf7zE</a></p> <p><strong>See <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3ddI4wLgf0">here a video by Conscientious Objection Association (VR-DER)</a></strong> released on International Conscientious Objection Day last year. </p> <h3>Video statements (with English subtitles) by a number of conscientious objectors from Turkey</h3> <ul> <li>Merve Arkun, <a href="https://youtu.be/a_pm5cQ5tjg">Turkey: Conscientious objection: anti-war action and rejection of male-dominated codes</a></li> <li>Ercan Aktaş, <a href="https://youtu.be/KWX7KIMV0u4">Turkey/France: I came to France in October 2017 and never returned</a></li> <li>Halil Savda, <a href="https://youtu.be/t3OSFQwSjJ8">Turkey/Cyprus: I dream of a nonviolent and free world</a></li> <li>Hüseyin Civan, <a href="https://youtu.be/oTNzwCZgYMg">Turkey: I reject conscription and war as an antimilitarist and anarchist</a></li> <li>Beran Mehmet İşçi, <a href="https://youtu.be/nNL0p4Bvxec">Turkey/Germany: My asylum case as conscientious objector is regarded as non-political</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/programmes/international-conscientious-objection-day" hreflang="en">International Conscientious Objection Day</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/256" hreflang="en">Turkey</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42383&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="2naHzGOfdmjR5l01rKthjQko3tcTWXWWOdc3Wps0Xog"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 08 Apr 2021 10:49:13 +0000 cmoy 42383 at https://wri-irg.org South Korea: Conscientious objection on non-religious grounds recognised by Supreme Court and MMA first time https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/south-korea-conscientious-objection-non-religious-grounds-recognised-supreme-court-and <div data-history-node-id="42372" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2021-03/50978884772_de84fa0879_c.jpg?itok=Z2rTrTJm 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-03/50978884772_de84fa0879_c.jpg?itok=tmcZ1GRd 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-03/50978884772_de84fa0879_c.jpg?itok=tmcZ1GRd" alt="Press conference by campaigners following the Supreme Court decision on 25th February." title="Press conference by campaigners following the Supreme Court decision on 25th February." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 15 Mar 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="line-height:1.38">First time in South Korea, conscientious objection to military service on non-religious grounds is recognised by the country’s Supreme Court and Military Manpower Administration (MMA).</p> <p>On February 24,<a href="http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210224000812"> South Korean media</a> reported that the MMA, the government body which oversees conscription, conscientious objection and alternative service, approved two applications for alternative service on non-religious grounds.<a href="http://www.withoutwar.org/?fbclid=IwAR2BwgUgqplAIPwIPKHiafCUJq9GH6U_cN2rgTcKQ8DpcYuUpBh0NuWiifU&amp;ckattempt=1"> <em>World without War</em></a><em>,</em> Seoul based campaigning group for conscientious objectors (COs), informed WRI that the decisions were actually made in January, although it took place on news in February. </p> <p><em>World without War</em> also reported that one of the two COs was a reservist who applied for alternative service to refuse reserve duty. In South Korea, after completing their mandatory military service, men are also obliged to go through a reserve duty. It includes a training session of one to three days per year for six years.</p> <p>The two cases are important because it’s the first time the MMA has approved the applications for alternative service on non-religious grounds. Prior to the two COs, 942 Jehovah's Witnesses have passed the screening of the Alternative Service Commission (supervised by the MMA). This included COs refusing reserve service as well as the military service.</p> <p>As reported by <a href="http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210224000812">the Korean Herald</a>, there are in total of 2,052 objectors who applied for alternative service by 24th February 2021. Only 944 of those have gained approval and 942 of them are conscientious objectors refusing on religious grounds.</p> <h2>Supreme Court recognised conscientious objection on non-religious grounds</h2> <p>On 25th February, another significant development took place: For the first time, the Supreme Court of South Korea has recognised the conscientious objection of a reservist whose refusal was based on personal beliefs, not on religious grounds. In its decision, the Court has upheld a lower court's acquittal of the reservist charged with refusing to complete his mandatory reservist duty for nonreligious reasons.</p> <p>As reported by<a href="https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210225005352315"> Yonhap News Agency</a>, the Supreme Court said, "Even if a conscientious objector refuses to perform reserve forces training based on ethical, moral or philosophical beliefs other than religious beliefs, it should be regarded as a legitimate reason of rejection stipulated by the reserve forces law."</p> <h2>Two COs’ sentences approved by the Supreme Court</h2> <p>Unfortunately though, on the same day, the Supreme Court has <a href="https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210225005352315">confirmed the sentences</a> of two other conscientious objectors whose refusal were also based on non-religious grounds. The court confirmed lower courts’  sentence  of one and a half years in prison each for the two other conscientious objectors, stating that their beliefs cannot be seen as genuine. WRI has been informed that the two COs have been jailed last week following the Supreme Court’s decision on 25th February.</p> <h2>Constitutional Court dismissed a petition on reserve service</h2> <p>Also on the same day, the other high court of South Korea, the Constitutional Court, dismissed a petition about the law which penalizes those refusing reserve forces training without justifiable reasons. The petition, filed by a man who refuses to take part in reserve forces training after completing his military duty as skilled industrial personnel, alleged that the law violates the freedom of conscience.</p> <p>As reported by<a href="https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210225005352315"> Yonhap News Agency</a>, “the court noted there are already Supreme Court rulings on whether to punish conscientious objectors for rejecting reservist training, saying the petitioner can seek judgment from the top court on whether his case should be part of the conscientious objection case.”</p> <p>In February, another appeal was filed to the Constitutional Court regarding conscientious objection which hasn’t been assessed by the Court yet. The appeal, filed by a conscientious objector who is currently performing his alternative service as prison staff, was made on grounds that the alternative military service law is unconstitutional due to its punitive nature. You can find more information about the appeal<a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/south-korea-constitutional-appeal-filed-against-punitive-alternative-military-service"> here</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/169" hreflang="en">Korea, South</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42372&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="KYY2Q_x7A6u3vRETXceJHwT1TusO_VBXBEgzxnm82Ds"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Mon, 15 Mar 2021 12:25:10 +0000 cmoy 42372 at https://wri-irg.org CO Day 2021: Solidarity with conscientious objectors from Turkey https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/co-day-2021-solidarity-conscientious-objectors-turkey <div data-history-node-id="42382" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2021-04/728xauto.jpeg?itok=Vg8aRgmA 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-04/728xauto.jpeg?itok=i-AkKkL2 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-04/728xauto.jpeg?itok=i-AkKkL2" alt="Broken Rifle painted on a wall under which it&#039;s written conscientious objection in Turkish" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 07 Apr 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Every year on 15th May, the <strong>International Conscientious Objection Day</strong>, we organise solidarity with conscientious objectors (COs) and draw attention to their resistance to war. <strong>This year we have a particular focus on Turkey.</strong></p> <p><strong>In Turkey,</strong> there are thousands of COs who refuse to perform compulsory military service. <strong>The right to conscientious objection to military service isn’t recognised and anyone refusing compulsory military service faces lifetime persecution</strong>, including continuous arrest warrants and repeated prosecutions amounting to <strong>“civil death” </strong>– a term being used to describe their exclusion from social, cultural and economic life.</p> <p><strong>On this International Conscientious Objection Day, </strong>together with <em>Conscientious Objection Association (Turkey) </em>and<em> Connection e.V., </em><strong>we are repeating our call to Turkey to stop persecuting conscientious objectors and recognise their right to refuse to take up arms!</strong> During May, through a number of webinars, publications, video interviews, we will be amplifying the voices of COs from Turkey.</p> <p>Find more background information on the situation of conscientious objectors in Turkey <a href="https://en.connection-ev.org/article:turkey-prosecution-of-conscientious-objectors">here</a>.</p> <p>Also, see two recent bulletins published by the Conscientious Objection Association. Click <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MNZ4IaDBXZSz7-nQQcB665GbnIaGJVPS/view">here for the February issue</a> and <a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-03/vr-der_conscientious_objection_bulletin_november-december_2020.pdf">here for the December (2020) issue</a>. </p> <p><strong>More resources and background information</strong>, including video reports and testimonies by conscientious objectors from Turkey, are available <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/CODay2021">here</a>.</p> <h2>Join us on this day of solidarity with COs from Turkey!</h2> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Join our <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/webinar-conscientious-objection-and-international-solidarity-case-turkey">webinar on 14th May</a> (16:30 CEST), <em>Conscientious Objection and International Solidarity, the case of Turkey, </em></strong>participated by activists and COs from Turkey. <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/webinar-conscientious-objection-and-international-solidarity-case-turkey">Click here to register</a> and find more information.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong><a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-05/letter_to_tr_embassies.pdf">Send an email</a> to the Turkish Embassy of your country</strong>, urging the Turkish Government to recognise the right to conscientious objection. You can use our template letter <a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-05/letter_to_tr_embassies.pdf">(click here to see it</a>. Scroll down for Turkish translation). See the list of Turkish Embassies with their contact information <a href="https://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkish-representations.en.mfa">here</a>.  </p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Organise an online or physical event </strong>with COs from Turkey, or <strong>invite them to your already planned activities</strong>. Get in touch with us for speakers or ideas for themes via <a href="mailto:info@wri-irg.org">info@wri-irg.org</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Post your messages of solidarity with COs</strong> from Turkey on social media with hashtags <strong>#CODay2021</strong> and <strong>#COinTurkey</strong>. Follow us on <a href="https://twitter.com/warresistersint">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/warresistersint">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/warresistersint/?hl=en-gb">Instagram</a> for further updates and content you can share from Turkey.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Join us on our webinar with Conscientious Objection Association Turkey on 14th May, Friday, 16:30 CEST</strong>. We will have activists as well as conscientious objectors from Turkey sharing their stories. More information about the event will soon be shared.</p> </li> <li> <p>Contact us via <a href="mailto:info@wri-irg.org">info@wri-irg.org</a> for any further questions.</p> </li> </ul> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Attached file</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-05/letter_to_tr_embassies_0.pdf" type="application/pdf; length=75377" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">letter_to_tr_embassies.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">73.61 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/programmes/international-conscientious-objection-day" hreflang="en">International Conscientious Objection Day</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/256" hreflang="en">Turkey</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42382&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="Fmk8MJ9YjSsWt3cRNPXa534opY33O5p9iS7hp11jOU8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:29:34 +0000 cmoy 42382 at https://wri-irg.org https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/co-day-2021-solidarity-conscientious-objectors-turkey#comments Myanmar: Nineteen policemen refused junta orders, fled to India https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/myanmar-nineteen-policemen-refused-junta-orders-fled-india <div data-history-node-id="42376" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <time > 18 Mar 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At least 19 Myanmar police have fled to India, refusing to take orders from the military junta trying to suppress protests against last month’s coup.</p> <p>As reported by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/myanmar-politics-india/exclusive-three-myanmar-police-seek-refuge-in-india-rather-than-carry-out-juntas-orders-idUSKCN2AW12E?fbclid=IwAR0_vriJuypiHsBf1clDLYJfmm7ygSvB4VqusQj15baaEGwIOj-yKhBIpZE">Reuters</a>, the men seeking refuge in India crossed into Champai and Serchhip, two districts in the north-eastern state of Mizoram that share a porous border with Myanmar.</p> <p>All the men, crossing into India over fearing persecution due to disobeying orders, were reported to be lower-ranking policemen and unarmed. The Indian police official also told Reuters that they are expecting more people to come.</p> <p><a href="https://thewire.in/south-asia/fleeing-junta-orders-nineteen-myanmar-police-seek-refuge-in-india">The Wire</a> from India has reported that this is the first known case of police fleeing Myanmar, although several cases of police joining the civil disobedience movement and protests against the junta have been circulated on social media previously.</p> <h2>Myanmar soldier publicly refused taking orders and joined anti-coup movement</h2> <p>On another update from the country, a soldier, Shing Ling, <a href="https://www.todayonline.com/world/ashamed-myanmar-soldier-joins-anti-coup-movement">posted a photo of himself on social media</a> showing his refusal to take orders to suppress protests. The 30 year-old, who deserted the military following his post, said "I have felt so guilty and ashamed since Feb 1", as <a href="https://www.afp.com/en/news/3954/global-alarm-grows-more-protesters-killed-myanmar-crackdown-doc-94z6lz7">reported by AFP</a>. Explaining his reasons to participate to the nationwide civil disobedience movement, he said "I was stationed really close to North Okkalapa, so it would be my gun that shoots unarmed people. I couldn't let that happen. That's why I decided to join."</p> <p>While there have been isolated reports of soldiers, as well as police, refusing to be part of coup and follow orders to suppress protests, it is rare for them to publicly announce their refusal, for fear of retaliation.</p> <p>Read the full story of Shing Ling's resistance <a href="https://www.todayonline.com/world/ashamed-myanmar-soldier-joins-anti-coup-movement">here</a>.</p> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/118" hreflang="en">Myanmar</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42376&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="3-zHDiY6z2CH9uKE5AqHJLvA_IkaE6JOou4pfbvif94"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 18 Mar 2021 15:11:03 +0000 cmoy 42376 at https://wri-irg.org South Korea: Constitutional appeal filed against punitive alternative military service law https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/south-korea-constitutional-appeal-filed-against-punitive-alternative-military-service <div data-history-node-id="42357" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2021-02/19355564038_597f2f49be_b.jpg?itok=P5VDADAX 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-02/19355564038_597f2f49be_b.jpg?itok=Gb4lBSlc 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-02/19355564038_597f2f49be_b.jpg?itok=Gb4lBSlc" alt="South Korean conscientious objectors protesting" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 19 Feb 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A conscientious objector from South Korea who is currently performing his alternative service as prison staff has filed <strong>a <a href="https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2021/01/251_303147.html">constitutional appeal</a> regarding the punitive alternative military service law</strong>. The appeal is made on grounds that <strong>the alternative military service law is unconstitutional due to its punitive nature</strong>.</p> <p>In South Korea, there is conscription and <strong>all able-bodied men are required to carry out military service from 18 to 22 months</strong>. In December 2019, the National Assembly passed <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2020/statement-south-korean-organisations-new-alternative-service-law">a new law introducing alternative service</a>, after the landmark rulings by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-military-idUSKCN1N63GZ">the Supreme Court </a>and <a href="https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2018/south-korea-constitutional-court-recognises-conscientious-objection">Constitutional Court</a> in 2018, for conscientious objectors who refuse to take up arms on religious or other grounds.</p> <p>The new law, however, set <strong>extreme punitive measures for conscientious objectors</strong>, including requiring them to <strong>work in a jail or other correctional facilities for 36 months</strong>. According to law, <strong><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/24/world/asia/south-korea-draft-conscientious-objectors.html">during this 3-year period</a>, conscientious objectors are required to work, eat and sleep in prisons although they live apart from the inmates.</strong></p> <p>The petition filed to the Constitutional Court on 25th January stated that <strong>the alternative service law violates the freedom of conscience and the rights to happiness and equality.</strong></p> <p>As reported by <a href="https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2021/01/251_303147.html">the Korea Times</a>, the petitioner, who is reported to be a Jehovah’s Witness started his alternative service at a local prison in 2020, “insisted that <strong>two clauses of the law, which require 36 months of in-camp service twice the active-duty service duration of 18 months, run counter to the Constitution, due to their punitive nature.”</strong></p> <p>The petition is known to be <strong>the first constitutional appeal filed in relation to the alternative service law</strong>.</p> <p><strong>The first group of 63 conscientious objectors started their alternative service at local correctional facilities, in October 2020</strong>, following the introduction of the alternative service law in December 2019. During their 36-month service, conscientious objectors are assigned tasks such as, serving and cooking meals and supporting facility management.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/12/south-korea-alternative-to-military-service-is-new-punishment-for-conscientious-objectors/">reported by the Amnesty International</a>, at 36 months’ duration, <strong>South Korea’s alternative service is the longest in the world </strong>and South Korean conscientious objectors are “confronted with little more than an alternative punishment.”</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/12/south-korea-alternative-to-military-service-is-new-punishment-for-conscientious-objectors/">statement in December 2019</a>, Amnesty International also highlighted other concerns regarding the law including that<strong> the alternative service is not wholly under the control of a civilian body, separate from the military authorities. </strong>The law states that applications for alternative service is assessed by a committee under the Military Manpower Administration, which is part of the Ministry of National Defense.</p> <p>As Amnesty International statement said:</p> <blockquote><p>Under international human rights law and standards, states with compulsory military service are obliged to provide genuinely civilian alternatives. These should be of a comparable length to military service, with any additional length based on reasonable and objective criteria. The process for evaluating claims to be recognized as conscientious objectors and any subsequent work service must also be under civilian authority.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Similar concerns were also <a href="https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=24979">highlighted by two independent UN experts</a> </strong>who wrote to the South Korean government in November 2019 about the alternative service bill.</p> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/169" hreflang="en">Korea, South</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42357&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="MuRlLGwM1hptBj0mCgGvVgx7ctdBmcXObD77O00Ts1g"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Fri, 19 Feb 2021 18:41:14 +0000 cmoy 42357 at https://wri-irg.org Syria: ‘Military Evaders’ threatened unlawful seizure of property and assets over conscription fees https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2021/syria-military-evaders-threatened-unlawful-seizure-property-and-assets-over-conscription <div data-history-node-id="42375" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2021-03/international_mine_action_center_in_syria_aleppo_45.jpg?itok=zzKNI-LH 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-03/international_mine_action_center_in_syria_aleppo_45.jpg?itok=Frapd83k 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2021-03/international_mine_action_center_in_syria_aleppo_45.jpg?itok=Frapd83k" alt="Aleppo/Syria 2015. Source: Wikipedia Commons/Mil.ru" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 18 Mar 2021</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The Syrian government has<a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-military-exemption-fees-property-seizures"> </a><a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-military-exemption-fees-property-seizures">threatened to seize the property and assets</a> of ‘military evaders’, namely Syrian refugees outside the country and internally displaced people, who fail to pay exorbitant fees to be exempted from military service.</p> <p>In a video interview conducted on February 2nd 2021 by Syria’s Ministry for Media and Information, Colonel Elias al-Bitar, head of the army’s Exemptions and Reserves Branch,<a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-military-exemption-fees-property-seizures"> </a><a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-military-exemption-fees-property-seizures">said</a> "The military judiciary will prepare notification notes to seize money and property from citizens over 43-years old who have not paid the exemption fee.” </p> <p>In the interview, Al-Bitar referred to an amendment in article 97 of Syria’s Military Conscription Law, according to which the Syrian government is allowed for the immediate confiscation of assets, without notice, for Syrian men who haven’t served in the military. The article requires the payment of $8,000 to be freed from the obligation of mandatory military service within a period of three months from the day they turned 43, which is the age limit for conscription.</p> <p>According to the law, the government can also seize the assets of wives, children, and other immediate relatives of the person in question until the source of those funds is verified, although mandatory military service applies to men only. In addition, the individual in question isn’t given an opportunity to challenge the decision. </p> <p>Al-Batir said "There are strict laws that no citizen can evade, the state can seize his property and money, the money of his parents, wife, relatives and anyone related to him.”</p> <p>In a<a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/09/syrian-military-evaders-face-unlawful-seizure-property-assets"> </a><a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/09/syrian-military-evaders-face-unlawful-seizure-property-assets">statement condemning the law</a>, Human Rights Watch’s Sara Kayyali said “This is only the latest in a <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/19/protecting-syrian-property-rights">series of laws and policies</a> designed to punish perceived political dissidents and Syrians who fled.”</p> <p>“Many men have fled Syria to avoid military conscription, which not only involves risk of death but also promised involvement in egregious human rights abuses that have stained the Syrian Armed Forces’ actions since the start of the conflict,” Kayali said.  </p> <p>“Many refugees do not have the means to pay fines for evading conscription. Syrian refugees, most of whom are in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, are enduring unprecedented harsh economic circumstances, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2015/9/560523f26/seven-factors-behind-movement-syrian-refugees-europe.html">economies that already largely marginalized refugees</a>.”</p> <p>Read the Human Rights Watch statement <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/09/syrian-military-evaders-face-unlawful-seizure-property-assets">here</a>.</p> <h2>Egregious fees to be exempt from military service </h2> <p>As reported<a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-military-exemption-fees-property-seizures"> by Middle East Eye</a>, late last year Assad’s government amended the Military Service Law introducing fees for Syrians to be exempted from military service. The law specified different amounts according to the number of years they have resided abroad.</p> <p>According to law, Syrians who spend one year, two years, three years or four years abroad are asked to pay $10,000, $9,000, $8,000 or $7,000 respectively to get an exemption from mandatory military service.</p> <p>The law also introduced a fee of $3,000 for those who serve in fixed positions in the military and seeking exemption. Read more in Middle East Eye report <a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-military-exemption-fees-property-seizures">here</a>.</p> <h2>Northeast Syria under SDF control: Young people suffering from conscription</h2> <p>Meanwhile, a recent<a href="https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2021/02/syria-conscription-sdf-is-army-volunteer.html?emailaddress=semihsapmaz%40gmail.com"> article by Al-Monitor</a> reported about the ongoing conscription campaign in northeast Syria which is under the control of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Democratic_Forces">Syrian Democratic Forces</a>. The article explained the hardships young men in Deir ez-Zor, a province in northeast Syria under the control of Syrian Democratic Forces, are going through due to mandatory military service. Interviewing residents of the region, the article said “young men are staying home for fear of arrest, forgoing daily wages and delaying grocery purchases to avoid passing by checkpoints.” Read the full Al-Monitor article<a href="https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2021/02/syria-conscription-sdf-is-army-volunteer.html?emailaddress=semihsapmaz%40gmail.com"> here</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://sn4hr.org/blog/2021/02/19/55948/">Syrian Network for Human Rights</a> (SNHR) also reported that Syrian Democratic Forces, controlling northeast Syria, have arbitrarily dismissed nearly 550 teachers from their jobs due to their refusal to forced conscription. SNHR also reported that since the beginning of 2021, Syrian Democratic Forces have arrested or detained at least 61 teachers some of whom for reasons related to refusing forced military service.</p> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/1" hreflang="en">Right to Refuse to Kill</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/158" hreflang="en">Syria</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Conscientious objection</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42375&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="ApXfqBBiAm6MqX8H3e5WmG6F5r6v8AORP9120zxgPew"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 18 Mar 2021 11:34:43 +0000 cmoy 42375 at https://wri-irg.org