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.

Today, 15th May, is International Conscientious Objection Day! This year, War Resisters’ International office, together with Connection e.V., has organised an online action, calling for your video messages celebrating this day, sharing your stories as conscientious objectors (COs), or your messages of solidarity with COs around the world.

This Friday, 15th May, is International Conscientious Objection Day. This year, War Resisters’ International office, together with Connection e.V., has called for an online action, calling for your video messages celebrating this day, sharing your stories as conscientious objectors (COs) as well as your solidarity messages with COs.

This Friday, 15th May, is International Conscientious Objection Day. This year, War Resisters’ International, together with Connection e.V., has called for your video contributions for our online action. We received your videos celebrating this day, sharing your stories as conscientious objectors as well as your solidarity messages with conscientious objectors.

This year on International Conscientious Objection Day, 15th May, we are focusing on conscientious objection and the right to seek asylum this year. A lot of the present refugees have to leave their countries because of forced recruitment in countries that don't recognise the right to conscientious objection. We say: protecting people who decide not to go to war would be an important and necessary step to struggle against war and oppression!

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has accepted a Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector's application against Turkey. Conscientious objector Halil Karapasaoglu, based in North Cyprus - a self-declared state recognised only by Turkey, was sentenced to 20 days in prison in January 2019. His sentence was cut short to 3 days after his successful appeal. In July 2019, Karapasaoglu submitted an application to the ECtHR for violations of articles 5, 6 and 9 of the ECHR - referring to deprivation of liberty, the right to a fair trial and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion respectively.

We have launched the CO book in its Spanish edition. On February 20th we held a launching event in Bogotá where we reflected on the book's content and discussed about all the ways we can object and resist war.

A Dashoguz Region court jailed Jehovah's Witness Vepa Matyakubov for two years on 17 February, his second criminal conviction for refusing military service on grounds of conscience. He had offered to do an alternative civilian service but Turkmenistan does not offer this. He is likely to join nine other jailed conscientious objectors in Seydi labour camp, known for harsh conditions and torture.

The trial of 19-year-old Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector Jovidon Bobojonov for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience may begin at Dushanbe Military Court in early March. One official of the Court told Forum 18 that the criminal case is close to completion.  If convicted, he faces between two and five years in prison. He has become "emotionally and physically exhausted" since he was seized in October 2019, Jehovah's Witnesses say.

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