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.

On March 10th, on the occasion of the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council, IFOR participated in the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, and addressed the issue of the right to conscientious objection to military service in the plenary.

The statement has been co-sponsored by War Resisters' International and referred as well to the concerning situation of armed conflicts.

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.

In December 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Committee asked Belarus to respond in the case of 33-year-old conscientious objector Dmitry Mozol. In February 2021, a court in Pinsk fined him four months' wages for refusing call-up to reservist military training on grounds of conscience. He failed to overturn the criminal punishment on appeal. The law allows only individuals who have completed alternative civilian service to be exempted from reservist military training. Alternative service was introduced only in 2016, after Mozol was initially called up. Jehovah's Witnesses fear that other young men could also face such prosecution.

Cyprus

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Issues

Cyprus still maintains conscription. The recognition of the right to conscientious
objection does not meet international standards.
The right to conscientious objection is not recognised for professional soldiers, nor for
serving conscripts.

Military recruitment
Conscription

Conscription
is enshrined in Article 129 of the 1960 Constitution, according to
which "(1) The Republic shall have an army of two thousand
men of whom sixty per cent shall be Greeks and forty per cent shall
be Turks.

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