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.

For the second time, South Korea's Constitutional Court ruled on 30 August that the right to conscientious objection is not protected under the South Korean constitution. Almost exactly seven years after its first decision on the subject on 26 August 2004 (see CO-Update No 1, September 2004), the court ruled again with a majority of 7-2 that the country's military service act is constitutional.

War Resisters' International calls for release of unjustly imprisoned blogger

On Tuesday, 23 August 2011, imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad began a hunger strike in protest against his continued imprisonment, and delays in dealing with his appeal. Today, one week later, he escalated his hunger strike and now also refuses to drink. In his declaration of hunger strike from 23 August 2011, he wrote that he had decided: "to go on a hunger strike, starting from today. Should there be no response, I will escalate my hunger strike to include water and medicines. It will continue until death or until I am set free." [1]

War Resisters' International calls for release of unjustly imprisoned blogger

War Resisters' International, the international pacifist network with more than 80 affiliated organisations in more than 40 countries, calls on the Egyptian authorities to release imprisoned pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad. Maikel Nabil Sanad was arrested at the end of March 2011, and sentenced to three years' imprisonment on charges of violation of article 184 of the Egyptian penal code, which criminalizes "insulting the People’s Assembly, the Shura Council or any State Authority, or the Army or the Courts", and article 102, "spreading false information". His trial in front of a military court and sentencing did not meet international legal standards [1].

(Application no. 23459/03)


7 July 2011
This judgment is final but may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Bayatyan v. Armenia,
The European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Grand Chamber composed of:
Jean-Paul Costa, President, 
 Christos Rozakis, 
 Nicolas Bratza, 
 Peer Lorenzen, 
 Françoise Tulkens, 
 Nina Vajić, 
 Lech Garlicki, 
 Alvina Gyulumyan, 
 Dean Spielmann, 
 Renate Jaeger, 
 Sverre Erik Jebens, 
 Päivi Hirvelä, 
 Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, 
 Ledi Bianku, 
 Mihai Poalelungi, 
 Nebojša Vučinić, 

Maikel Nabil is jailed in the Magr prison, in a small cell. The cell is called a reformatory, and is know as "the trial," where he stays for days without seeing sunlight. He is also not allowed to get out of
the cell for any exercise. The guard interacts with Maikel only once in 24 hours, when he opens the cell at 12pm to hand Maikel his one daily meal. Then he locks 6 metal doors on the way out.

Maikel is then left in that cell with three extremely dangerous criminals. He has been threatened explicitly by one of his cellmates that "one of these days, I will cut your face with a razor."

Repression in (post)-revolutionary Egypt

On 7 March, a few weeks after the resignation of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, Maikel Nabil Sanad wrote this sentence in a detailed article on his blog [1]. In this article he analysed in detail the role of the Egyptian military during and after the revolution, and came to the conclusion that the people and the military never “were one hand” - as people said so often during the revolution.

On 28 March 2011 Maikel Nabil Sanad, a blogger, pacifist, and conscientious objector, was arrested by military police at his home, on charges of “insulting the military”, “spreading false information”, and “obstructing public security”. Less than two weeks later – on 10 April 2011 – he was convicted by a military court and sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

The trial against Egyptian pacifist Maikel Nabil Sanad, who was arrested on 28 March 2011, and who appeared in front of the military court in Nasr City in Cairo on charges of "insulting the military by publishing false news about it" and "obstructing public security", came to a close on Sunday, 10 April 2011, with a sentence of three years' imprisonment. In an outrageous move by the military, family and friends waiting in front of the military court were told the trial was postponed, while in fact Maikel Nabil Sanad was being sentenced at the same time - alone.

Subscribe to Right to Refuse to Kill