Every year on 15th May, the International Conscientious Objection Day, we organise solidarity with conscientious objectors (COs) and draw attention to their resistance to war. This year we have a particular focus on Turkey – working closely with the Conscientious Objection Association - Turkey (VR-DER).
64 organisations from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey published a statement calling for an end to fossil fuel explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean which fuel the militarisation in the region. The statement calls on the actors to take action for climate justice rather than conflicting over fossil fuel reserves. Read the full statement here.
Turkey rejected all the recommendations concerning conscientious objectors which were submitted during this year’s Universal Periodic Review – a process in the context of the Human Rights Council which involves a review of the human rights record of every UN Member State and recommendations from the other Member States.
The Working Group Stop the Cycle of Violence in Turkey published a new booklet, Protection from Afar: How to support people in Turkey and visitors to Turkey in cases of persecution and arbitrary arrest. The booklet provides insights and advice about how to respond to the cases of persecution and/or threats to the safety of human rights defenders in Turkey where physical protective accompaniment is not feasible.
The latest issue of our newsletter CO Update is out! In this issue, you'll find stories on conscientious objection and conscription from Ukraine,Turkey, Eritrea, Germany, USA, Azerbaijan, Thailand, among others.
Mustafa Araz, a conscript in the Turkish Military, was found dead on 12th May. Araz was doing his compulsory military service at an air military base in the Babaeski district of Kirklareli, a city in northwest Turkey. The Turkish Military has ruled that the death of the 23-year-old soldier was a suicide. However, the family challenges the Military’s claim, saying their son’s body was covered in severe bruises and scars, as reported in the prosecutor’s report. They have filed a lawsuit at the prosecutor’s office for the incident to be investigated further.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has urged Turkey to stop prosecuting conscientious objectors and take the necessary measures to address the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. Since 2006, the ECHR has ruled against Turkey multiple times regarding the treatment and status of conscientious objectors.
From November 1st to November 3rd, 2019 a group of activists from France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland gathered to discuss militarism in their political, social and everyday lives. Conscientious objection, among and in relation to other topics, was central to the discussions at this Antimilitarist Camp in Paris.