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.

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

In solidarity with prisoners for peace, WRI continues to release the list of those who are currently in prison for their conscientious objection to military service and their work for peace, and encourage everyone to write to them You can find the list here.

On December 6th, the UN Human Rights Committee announced their decision on the case of conscientious objector Lazaros Petromelidis from Greece. The Committee found violations of articles 9, 12, 14, and 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and asked Greece to take necessary measures addressing these violations. War Resisters’ International, together with Connection e.V., the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, and  International Fellowship of Reconciliation As released a statement welcoming and evaluating this statement. 

On December 6th, the UN Human Rights Committee announced their decision on the case of conscientious objector Lazaros Petromelidis from Greece. The Committee found violations of articles 9(1), 12(2), 14(7), and 18(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and asked Greece to take necessary measures addressing these violations. The decision of the UN Human Rights Committee advances relevant jurisprudence and could be significant for conscientious objectors in other countries too.
Read the full statement of Connection e.V., European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and War Resisters' International.

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