Read here IFOR’s statement on the New Zealand mosque attacks on the 15th of March.
Ifor is pleased to extend to all of you the invitation to join us in Geneva for the "Introduction to UN" week.
As we already proposed last year, this IFOR program is aimed to provide an opportunity to get to know more about IFOR work at UN and to find better ways to closely collaborate with branches.
Do not hesitate to contact us for questions.
During November 2018 the quadrennial IFOR council took place, before council the Migration conference ‘On the Move’ was held. After this week a press release was released to the public mentioning the appointment of Lotta Sjöström Becker, from Sweden as the new president of IFOR. Followed by some important actions and visits made by IFOR delegates from all over the world that were attending council during this week.
Read on to find out more!
The International Fellowship of Reconciliation is the world's oldest interfaith, pacifist movement, and its US branch is similarly the oldest of its kind in that country. As IFOR prepares to gather in Italy for its quadrennial Council, we learned with sadness of the murders of a worshipping Jewish community at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Clicca qui per la versione in Italiano.
November 2 & 3, 2018, IFOR will be hosting a conference about migration in Catania Sicily. “On The Move” will be a conversation about migration, its causes, the journey and strategies of welcome.
The conference is supported by the City of Catania and will be hosted at
Palazzo della Cultura, Via Vittorio Emanuele 121.
The conversation will be global in scope, featuring both local contributors and special guests from around the world. We will address the impact that war, climate change and global economic forces have had on people’s choices to leave their communities to seek safety and opportunity. We are prioritizing conversations led by people who have themselves migrated and who are participating in finding the solutions to the challenges migrants face.
The following organizations are contributing to the conversation:
“On The Move” will begin Friday morning, November 2, 2018 at 10:30 and it will end in the evening of Saturday, November 3, 2018 with a musical event by
To see a draft program for the conference click here
The conference precedes IFOR’s quadrennial international council that will be held from November 4-11 in Zafferana Etnea. IFOR has invited its members from 40 different countries and all delegates to the international council are invited to attend and participate in the conversation.
To Register Click Here
Conference participants are encouraged to find their own accommodation in Downtown Catania. The conference is free to the public but we do ask that those who are able consider making a contribution to support this effort.
the illustration was provided to IFOR by Anonima Fumetti
IFOR issued a statement expressing gratitude for the work of the Special Rapporteur for her steadfast reporting on human rights violations in Eritrea. It has not been an easy task, she has faced threats and dangers and nonetheless stayed true to her commitment of exposing human rights violations to the world.
IFOR’s Main Representative to the United Nations in Geneva made a statement warning of the dangers of businesses exploiting the procedures of of the Human Rights Council in order to advance their narrow interests. The concern was illustrated by a British corporate lawyer posing as an African NGO in order to deny well-documented human rights violations by her client, exploiting slave labor in Eritrea. Download statement here
During the 38th session of the Human Rights Council held in Geneva, IFOR organized a side event, co-sponsored by War Resisters International, focusing on the causes of migration from Eritrea and the struggles of Eritrean refugees.
The event was well attended and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Eritrea, Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth, offered a valuable contribution to the discussion.
Among the speakers was Father Mussie Zerai, a well known advocate for the rights of refugees and chairman of the Habeshia Agency. In addition to his participation on the panel, Father Zerai offered an additional statement calling on European governments to respond to migration in humane ways.
On June 12, the rescue ship Aquarius was prevented from docking in Italy after it had rescued migrants who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The Aquarius is one of the ships operated by of SOS Mediterranee and is actively supported by IFOR and by our local branch MIR Italia. On June 25th, IFOR's Representatives in Geneva delivered the statement below about the humanitarian crisis during the 38th Session of the Human Rights Council.
During the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, IFOR joined a group of organizations calling attention to the repeated violations of international law through the ongoing occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco. The coalition of nongovernmental organizations submitted a report calling for the following:
- All High Contracting Parties to ensure that the Kingdom of Morocco respects the Fourth Geneva Convention in Western Sahara;
- The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in Western Sahara;
- The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Human Rights of the Sahrawi people, including their right to self-determination and independence, in conformity with UNGA resolution 1514 (XV);
- The Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect the Principles of International Law, including the Principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and the principle that States shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter;
- The members of the Human Rights Council to create the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights violations in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara.
During the 38th session of the Human Rights Council IFOR delivered an oral statement addressed to the Human Rights Commissioner condemning the targeting of conscientious objectors in Turkey and Russia. IFOR maintains a connection to the Turkish Conscientious Objector’s Organization VR-DER Vicdani Ret Dernegi, through our partners, the European Bureau of Conscientious Objection, and War Resisters International. In 2016, VR-DER held an event in honour of those that have refused, on grounds of conscience, to be recruited into the armed forces,. This led to the co-Chair of the organisation being summoned to answer charges of “making propaganda for terror”. IFOR denounced this and similar aggression directed towards nonviolent movements by the Russian Federation.
Lithuania reintroduced conscription to military service in 2015 for males 19 years of age and older. Although the government provides alternative to service, IFOR submits a report to the Human Rights Committee expressing concern about the ways these alternatives are militaristic in nature. These alternatives illustrate the way government institutions often circumvent the international right to conscientious objection.
On Friday, May 18th, A special session of the Human Rights Council on the current situation in Gaza took place at the United Nations in Geneva. High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein denounced the violence and called for the creation of a Commission Of Inquiry. Many states condemned the attacks in Gaza. IFOR joined several NGOs condemning the attacks. In IFOR’s statement, our representative spoke in support of Israeli conscientious objectors and condemned the Israeli Defense Force, and the U.S. Government, holding them as the most responsible for the atrocities that were committed.
Every four years, IFOR's members send delegates to an International Council to discuss priorities, strategies, and ideas for coordinating our global movement in the years to come. The 2018 International Council will be held hosted by IFOR's branch in Italy, Movimento Internazionale della Riconciliazione (MIR).
The International Council will be held in the Sicilian city of Catania, November 4-11, 2018. IFOR member organizations have been notified about the upcoming council and will continue to receive information in the coming months.
Preceding the Council, the International Secretariat is organizing an event to address an area of concern for many of IFOR's members, Migration. The conference will be shaped around three themes that are consistent with the experience of our movement: The Violence that Causes Migration, The Experience of Migration, and The Compassionate Response.
- The Violence that Causes Migration: We plan to discuss the impact that armed conflict; global economic policy and climate change have on migration.
- The Experience of Migration: We plan to allow refugees to speak for themselves and share their experiences. We will discuss pressing challenges, concerns, and opportunities to provide concrete support.
- The Compassionate Response: those working tirelessly to show hospitality to the influx of refugees will tell their stories and provide encourage the movement of hospitality and welcome.
The conference is open to the public. More information about registration for the conference and upcoming council will be provided soon.
IFOR submitted a report on the status of the right to conscientious objection in Israel to the attention of the Country Report Task Force on Military Service in Israel for the 123 Session of the Human Rights Committee.
From the report: "The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is organized as a citizen's militia. In principle, men and women alike are required to perform obligatory military service, almost always starting on leaving school at the age of 18, and subsequently to report for one month's active reserve duty, until the age of 40 for men and for women until marriage, pregnancy or age 38. In practice, only Jewish Israelis and men from the Druze community are affected. Other "Arab Israelis" are not called up and the Ultra-Orthodox have also in the past benefited from a variety of exemptions. There is however no effective legal provision governing cases of conscientious objection to military service."
To read IFOR's Full Submission Click Here.
Saturday, April 21st, a controversial law about the electoral code which was adopted at the beginning of last April, lead to trouble among the deputies of the House of Commons in Madagascar. Of the 152 deputies, 79 voted FOR and 73 AGAINST this law. The 73 deputies of the opposition denounced the abnormal way in which the law was passed, which they called fraudulent and corrupt. These 73 deputies decided to publicly denounce the actions of their colleagues in parliament before the population of the Capital (Antananarivo) on the 21st of April. The army forbid them access to the Main Square of Independence, where they planned to hold a public rally. The incident ended with violent clashes between the protestors and the army. Four people were killed and many were injured.
IFOR's branch in Madagascar issued a statement on April 22, 2018 responding to the crisis:
On April 14th, The United States, Britain, and France launched air strikes against Syria in retaliation for the suspected chemical weapons attack. The delegates to the EUFOR meeting held a silent circle in Turin's main square honoring the victims of war and making a stand for peace and nonviolence. They drafted and released the following statement in response to the air strikes:
IFOR's International Secretariat is looking for a new part time Administration and Communications Assistant to support IFORs global network of people working for a more peaceful and just world. Location is negotiable but the person will need to come to IFOR's administrative office in Utrecht regularly. If you are interested, please send a CV and cover letter to Adminposition@ifor.org. The application deadline is March 19th.
IFOR's Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva worked closely with the dedicated international observation program supported by several IFOR branches known as FOR Peace Presence, to describe ongoing attacks on conscientious objectors and human rights defenders in Colombia. On February 2, they submitted a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council about the ongoing situation in Colombia.