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.


Update 14 June:

Nikos' trial has been postponed to 2 July


Update 11 June:

Nikos Karanikas was arrested in Thessaloniki again. He was later released, but will still be tried at a later date.


Last autumn, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation on Eritrea - Sheila Keetharuth.

WRI will be submitting information to Sheila on the reality of military service in Eritrea, and the lack of rights for conscientious objectors. To do this, we will be gathering evidence from Eritreans now living in the UK, Israel, South Africa, Germany and other countries.

Recently, two nations have re-announced a cessation in conscription, having postponed previous plans to abolish conscription.

Ukranian Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedev has said that military conscription will be suspended in 2013. The press service of the Defense Ministry quoted Lebedev as saying that “In 2013, the structure and the system of management of the Armed Forces will be revised, military conscription will be suspended simultaneously with the transfer to the recruitment of army under contracts as in leading countries of the world".

In January, in a referendum on compulsory military service, nearly 60 percent of Austrians voted to maintain the status quo and maintain conscription, where men have to serve in the army for six months or in the civilian service for nine months when they reach the age of 18. Turnout in the referendum was slightly more than 50%.

War Resisters' International have made a submission to the Colombian government, as a law that will regulate the right to conscientious objection makes its way through the Colombia parliament.

The submission will be input to the relevant parliamentary committee through ACOOC (Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia).


London, 14 February, 2013

War Resisters' International responded to a request for information from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on conscientious objection to military service, towards a quadrennial analytical report on conscientious objection to military service that will presented to the Human Rights Council.


Submission: conscientious objection to military service

Andreas and Hannah from the Right to Refuse to Kill programme visited Colombia in November 2012 to meet new antimilitarist groups, reconnect with existing contacts, and to plan new ways in which WRI might provide useful forms of international accompaniment. Many of the groups we met are members of ANOOC - Asamblea Nacional de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia – a nationwide assembly of groups that work on conscientious objection.

The Young Lawyers Association “Amparo”, who document press-ganging in Tajikistan and has provided thousands of families pro bono legal advice has been ordered to close by the Tajik court.

The court cited a variety of technical violations of its operating license, including moving offices without duly notifying authorities, engaging in unauthorized training sessions involving high school students and operating an improperly registered website. The ruling came after the Tajik Justice Ministry filed a motion to shut down the Association.

1 November 2012


10. The Committee is concerned about the discrimination and alleged acts of violence against people on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation, and about the social stigmatization and social exclusion of LGBT persons in terms of their access to health services, education, or to their treatment in the context of the regulations concerning compulsory military service and while serving in the military. (arts. 2 and 26)

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