Prisoners for Peace


1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day. For over 60 years, War Resisters' International have, on this day, made known the names and stories of those imprisoned because of their actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

This day is a chance for you to demonstrate your support for those individuals and their movements, by writing to those whose freedom has been taken away from them because of their work for peace.

WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, which we make a special effort to update for Prisoners for Peace Day on December 1st.

Kaj Raninen

Finland still maintains a very extensive conscription system. About 80% of all male Finnish citizens perform military service, a bit more than 10 % are exempted from service and about 7 % apply for conscientious objection.


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Welcome to the Prisoners for Peace special edition of The Broken Rifle. The focus of Prisoners for Peace Day 2004 is the imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Finland. Finland, a member state of the European Union, continues to imprison conscientious objectors who refuse to perform a substitute service which is punitive in length. And the number of imprisoned conscientious objectors is growing - now standing at about 70-80 annually.

1 December - Prisoners for Peace Day

This years focus: conscientious objection in Finland.

It is only one more month to Prisoners for Peace Day. The special edition of WRI's The Broken Rifle, incorporating the annual Prisoners for Peace Honour Roll, will be available in English online after 4 November, and in print from 15 November on. The German, French, and Spanish editions will be available soon after.

European Social Forum in London

War Resisters' International and many of its European affiliates are preparing for the European Social Forum, which will take place in London from 15-17 October 2004. You can find out more about WRI's presence at the ESF on WRI's website.

Prisoners for Peace Day 2004

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day. The focus for this years is conscientious objection in Finland.

The Broken Rifle

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The Broken Rifle is the newsletter of War Resisters' International, and is published in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 59, November 2003. This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Andreas Speck and Yongwook Yeong, with help from Jung-min Choi and many others, who provided the information used in this issue.

If you want extra copies of this issue of The Broken Rifle, please contact the WRI office, or download/print a PDF or HTML version from this website.

Objectors' stories

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Dong Hyuk Na

For 50 years, since the Korean War, about 10,000 COs have been imprisoned. Most of those COs were Jehovah's Witnesses. Not until the 21st century did COs who have ideological, political beliefs appear amid serious reflection on militarism and nationalism. The anti-war movement in Korea, which began after 11 September 2001, exerted a great influence on their conviction against war and for peace. I am one of those and the fourth objector for nonreligious reasons.

Sang Youl Sohn

Many people think that the crisis on the Korean peninsula started in the wake of North Korea's nuclear development. However, contrary to what is commonly known, it is right to think that the crisis initiated from the aggressive nuclear and military policies made by the US, and military approach to this by North Korea made the crisis more complicated.

Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights

5F., CISJD Bldg., #35 Chungjoengno 2(I)-ga, Seodaemun-gu Seoul 120-012 tel +82-2-393 9085 fax +82-2-363 9085 email

World Without War

2F., 242-73 Sangdo 4-dong, dongjak-gu Seoul 156-806 Tel: +82-2-815-4477 Email:

Korean House for International Solidarity

2F., 32 Wonseo-dong, Jongno-gu Seoul 110-280 Tel: +82-2-3675-5808 Fax: +82-2-3673-5627 Email:

Young-il Hong

The history of conscientious objection on the Korean Peninsula dates back to 1939. As Japanese Jehovah's Witnesses who had refused military service began to be arrested on 21 June, the wave of arresting Jehovah's Witnesses began to sweep through Taiwan on 22 June and Korea on 29 June. As a result, 33 Jehovah's Witnesses were indicted in Korea. Most of the Jehovah's Witnesses working in Korea from 1939 to the end of the second world war were imprisoned on account of conscientious objection.

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