Right to Refuse to Kill

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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 ObjectWar Campaign week of action is taking place between 4th-10th December with multiple events across Europe. With their actions, activists are calling on Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to stop the persecution of conscientious objectors and deserters; as well as calling on the European Union to protect those refusing to take part in the war in Ukraine. Find a list of events here.

December 1st, this Friday, is Prisoners for Peace Day. On this day (and every day) we encourage you to show solidarity with the activists and conscientious objectors imprisoned due to their peace work and their refusal to take up arms.

45-year-old Seventh-day Adventist Dmytro Zelinsky is serving his 3-year jail term for refusing mobilisation on grounds of conscience, and is due to arrive soon in a Kolomyia prison. On 28 August, Ternopil Appeal Court acceded to Prosecutor Roman Harmatiuk's request to overturn his June acquittal. Harmatiuk did not respond to Forum 18 to say why he appealed against the acquittal. Zelinsky is preparing a Supreme Court appeal.

On 25 October, a Yerevan court handed Baptist conscientious objector Davit Nazaretyan a two-year jail sentence for "Avoidance of mandatory military or alternative service or conscription", despite his repeated requests for alternative civilian service. "Of course it's bad, but the law demands it," said religious affairs official Vardan Astsatryan. Nazaretyan plans to appeal, and is at home until it is heard.

On the International Day of Peace, September 21st 2023, IFOR, WRI, EBCO, and Connection e.V. urge the involved countries in the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine to mobilise for peace instead of war, and the EU and the international community to invest in diplomacy and negotiations instead of weapons and militarism.

World Without War is a member of War Resisters' International based in South Korea, and is one of the most successful pacifist and antimilitarist movements in Asia, taking action on issues such as the arms trade, ending mandatory male conscription and activist empowerment. This year, WWW is celebrating its 20th anniversary by celebrating its achievements, reflecting on its challenges, and envisioning the coming years/decades. To mark this occasion, we interviewed front-line activist Jungmin Choi.

Yurii Sheliazhenko, conscientious objector, pacifist, human rights defender and the Executive Secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, has been placed under partial house arrest in Kyiv on 15th August, being accused of ‘justifying the Russian aggression’. Send an email of support for Yurii to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy using the template letter here.

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