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.

Activists tortured and killed by the army, even after Mubarak’s resignation (A study supported with documents)
Does the Egyptian Army stand alongside the revolution?

On 11 February 2011, after the President’s stepping-down speech that was delivered by Omar Suliman (Vice-President of the Republic, and the former head of the Egyptian intelligence), many Egyptians rushed to declaring victory and the completion of the revolution….

I regret having to say the following, mostly because many of those who spoke out are my friends, but people have the right to know the truth.

Some people wanted to take advantage of the presence of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to get political positions by making deals with the Supreme Council. They knew that they could not achieve such positions through a regular democratic process. And some of them had connections with the secret service before the revolution, and supported the secret service by default (I don’t want to describe them as the Secret Service’s agents) and some others thought that the army was not a part of the July Military Regime! And people were therefore misled by the army declarations (Press Releases) and have accepted the army’s role in the transitional phase.

War Resisters' International, an international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisa­tions founded in 1921, and with more than 80 affiliated organisations in more than 40 coun­tries, expresses its support to conscientious objector Moon Myungjin and all other con­scientious objectors in the Republic of Korea.

War Resisters' International was founded based on the following declaration from 1921:
“War is a crime against humanity.
I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.”

The German Marshall Fund of the United States annually does a survey on important "transatlantic trends", which can make an interesting read. One of the questions asked is: "Please tell me to what extent do you agree with the following: Under some conditions, was is necessary to obtain justice." (Q29.2). The answers are quite revealing (see graphic below).

Report on a visit to Colombia in May/June 2010

Speck, War Resisters' International's Right to Refuse to Kill
programme worker1, visited Colombia from 19 May until 12 June 2010. During his visit, he
spoke at two conferences on conscientious objection, and visited groups and individuals working on CO in Bogota, Sincelejo, Medellin, Cali, Villa Rica, and Barrancabermeja.

Book launch, 23 April 2010, 7pm, Housmans Bookshop

War Resisters' International is proud to finally publish "Women Conscientious Objectors - An Anthology", edited by Ellen Elster and Majken Jul Sørensen, with a preface by Cynthia Enloe. As WRI's chair Howard Clark writes in his preface: "In several senses, an anthology such as this is long overdue. First in the sense of acknowledging this part of the relatively hidden history of antimilitarism. Second for War Resisters' International organisationally. Founded in 1921, WRI has for much of its history been male-dominated, despite the prominent role of women in various affiliates and with certain exceptions at the international level such as long-serving WRI General Secretary Grace Beaton. Since 1972 conscious efforts have been made to change this — first the introduction of inclusive language (s/he, etc), and then, beginning in 1976, the organisation of special women's gatherings, usually in conjunction with WRI's “elder sister” the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. The second gathering in Scotland served as a prelude to the resurgence of an international women's peace movement in the 1980s, and produced a forceful statement on Women as Total Resisters. The British women involved in these gatherings formed the Feminism and Nonviolence Study Group and WRI later co-published their book Piecing It Together (now online at http://wri-irg.org/pubs/Feminism_and_Nonviolence). Then in 1986 the WRI Women's Working Group was formed to take this work forward and to provide a welcoming entry point for women activists, while WRI's 1987 seminar on Refusing War Preparations: Non-cooperation and Conscientious Objection was a response to feminist prompting to look at 'the wider implications of conscientious objection'. That seminar reflected new interest in the Anti-War Plan presented to WRI in 1934 by Bart de Ligt, but it took a decidedly more feminist approach. Activities central to war refusal — war tax resistance, refusing war work and opposing cultural preparations for war — are all areas where women have been and remain at the forefront."

Refusing militarism is not possible without refusing hegemonic masculinity

Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International

the militarist value system and its practices which are identified
with military service, one is also obliged to question the hegemonic
understanding of masculinity. In Turkey, military service is a
laboratory in which masculinity is reproduced. The patriarchal system
is solidified through military service.

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