Viewing entries in
Conscientious Objection

IFOR and PSPD address the meeting for the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT at the UN HQ

Comment

IFOR and PSPD address the meeting for the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT at the UN HQ

At the 3rd Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT at the UN HQ, the civil society was given an opportunity to address the meeting. On May 1, 2019, 16 speeches were delivered to the delegates by the civil society groups.

One of them was a joint statement on Korea from the PSPD (People's Solidarity for Partipatory Democracy), a prominent NGO in South Korea, and IFOR. Here is the statement, which has been endorsed by 40 civil society groups in the world, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, U.K., Bangladesh, etc

Comment

IFOR Council Press Release: On the Move conference and actions during council.

Comment

IFOR Council Press Release: On the Move conference and actions during council.

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!

Comment

Comment

Father Mussie Zerai: "The Right of the Weak is Not a Weak Right"

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.

Comment

Comment

IFOR denounces threats to C.O.s in Turkey and Russia

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.

Comment

Comment

IFOR submits report on Lithuania to the Human Rights Committee (123rd Session)

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.    

Read the full report

Comment

IFOR Condemns Atrocities in Gaza

Comment

IFOR Condemns Atrocities in Gaza

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.

Comment

Comment

Israel and Military Service: IFOR's Submission to the HRC 123

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. 

Comment

Comment

IFOR Madagascar Responds to Violent Clashes in Antananarivo

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: 

Comment

European Branches Denounce Strikes in Syria

Comment

European Branches Denounce Strikes in Syria

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: 

Comment

Comment

Paramilitary Attacks Continue in Colombia: IFOR Submits Statement to Human Rights Council

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. 

Comment

Comment

Human Rights Committee 120

July 03-28, 2017 IFOR's Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva attended the 120th Session of the Human Rights Committee. This synopsis is taken from notes provided by IFOR's Fellow in Geneva, Martina Lanza.  

The HR Committee reviewed the implementation of civilian and political rights in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Honduras, Mongolia and Swaziland. IFOR attended the meetings on Switzerland, Honduras and Mongolia reviews. 

Comment

Human Rights Council 35

Comment

Human Rights Council 35

From June 6-23 IFOR's Representatives in Geneva attended the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. IFOR's Representatives Derek Brett, Hans Ulrich Gerber and IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza worked with IFOR's members and contacts around the world to provide make oral statements, submit written statements and host side events during the council. 

Comment

Comment

FOR-USA Responds to Military Strike in Syria

On April 8th, IFOR's branch in the United States issued a statement in response to U.S. military action in Syria. While acknowledging the horror of the chemical weapons attack on civilians, FOR called upon its members to contact the White House to express their disapproval of military response to the crisis in Syria. The statement calls upon the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. just days after the commemoration of his assassination and his famous statement against the Vietnam War one year earlier.  

The statement says "The logic that a military strike, even a limited one, will deter and quell aggression from the Assad regime, or the armed resistance, or the movement of Al-Qaeda believed to be in Syria, is fundamentally flawed. In violent escalation, both sides respond in turn with their own escalation of use of arms and aggressive attacks. We are already seeing the rumbling of this in Russia’s pronouncement of the strike as “an act of aggression.”   As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.” 

To read the full statement click here. 

Comment

Comment

IFOR at HRC 34: Colombia, Turkey, Eritrea & Western Sahara

In March of 2017 IFOR's representatives in Geneva engaged two important UN Human Rights bodies: the Human Rights Council (34th session) and the Human Rights Committee (119th session).

During the Human Rights Council session, IFOR delivered seven oral statements addressing critical concerns of IFOR members around the world. IFOR spoke to situations in Colombia, Eritrea, Turkey, and Western Sahara in particular as well as issues of torture and the forced recruitment of child soldiers in general. 

Comment

Comment

UN Geneva: IFOR Condemns Ongoing Attacks in Colombia

On March 22, during the general debate following the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' report on the situation of Human Rights in Colombia, IFOR delivered a statement that spoke to the experiences of its members in Colombia. 

IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza delivering IFOR comments during the High Commissioner's Report

IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza delivering IFOR comments during the High Commissioner's Report

The statement was delivered by IFOR Fellow Martina Lanza and it underlined our concern for the ongoing attacks against human rights defenders and on the militarization of the country, even after the peace accords. To read the full statement please click here. 

(video of the remarks can be viewed here).

IFOR has deep relationships with human rights defenders in Colombia. IFOR is represented in Colombia by SERPAJ-Colombia and IFOR branches from Sweden, Austria, U.S., and the U.K. work collaboratively to provide protective accompaniment to human rights defenders in several regions of the country. The coordinated work of IFOR Austria, U.S. and U.K. is organized as FOR Peace Presence. IFOR members have accompanied the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó for the past 15 years. 

 

Comment

Comment

ONAD Responds to Call for National Dialogue in South Sudan

Amid escalating violence, IFOR's Branch in South Sudan, the Organization for Nonviolence and Development (ONAD) joined a coalition of organizations who have responded to the call for National Dialogue issued by South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit. 

The coalition of organizations is known as "The Voluntary Civil Society Taskforce on Implementation of the Peace Agreement." It is a coalition of over 20 diverse and non-partisan South Sudanese civil society organizations and networks. The Taskforce is interested in genuine and full implementation of the Peace Agreement and a quick end to the suffering inflicted on innocent citizens of South Sudan by the political crises in the country.

Comment

Comment

IFOR reports on Conscientious Objection to UN OHCHR

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is working on its four-year analytical report on conscientious objection to military service. The report will be introduced and opened to discussion during the June 2017 session of the Human Rights Council.

IFOR responded to the invitation of OHCHR to submit information on the topic last February. In our submission, we concentrate only on developments after 2013, because early details were comprehensively summarized in the first Quadrennial Report (A/HRC/23/22, 3rd June 2013).
Regarding to the international legal and normative framework, the submission reports developments at the UN and regional level. In the second part, it provides analyses, speaks of encouraging developments, best practices and remaining challenges at the national level.
 

The read the full text of IFOR's submission click here.

Comment

International Coordinator visits South Sudan

Comment

International Coordinator visits South Sudan

January 15-20, IFOR’s International Coordinator visited South Sudan, at the invitation of the Organization for Nonviolence and Development (ONAD). ONAD has been a part of IFOR since 2006. The visit was primarily to express solidarity with ONAD and the South Sudanese people in this period of intense violence in the country. The IFOR International Committee (ICOM) has long sought to prioritize support for nonviolent movements in Africa. The most recent months of violence in South Sudan have caused global concerned that the country was teetering towards genocide. ICOM and the International Secretariat felt it critical to express support for ONAD and find ways to amplify their efforts in the country. 

Comment

1 Comment

Away From Arms! Demobilizing Child Soldiers

February 12, is international day against the use of child soldiers. The UN campaign #childrennotsoldiers (#enfantspassoldats) is being supported by several countries around the world. Through the work of it's Swiss Branch, IFOR began to work more closely with Junior Nzita, the goodwill ambassador for the UN campaign. Now Teenergy, a small company in Montreux, Switzerland specialized in documentary films, is finishing a 26-minute film on child soldiers and the real possibility of demobilization. Parallel to the production of the film is the development of a smartphone app by the University of Geneva. This app shall help child soldiers in process of demobilization. It is about to be used in a pilot project in Colombia. The films will be featured initially by TV5 monde in French and then in English and Spanish by other TV channels. It will be distributed free world wide through UN and various NGO channels including IFOR. 

This project is called Away from Arms and IFOR is proud to be partnering with Junior Nzita and Teenergy to support the project and child soldiers around the world. IFOR is represented in the project by Hans Ulrich Gerber.

On February 12, 2017 there will be the launch of the project in Montreux Switzerland.  The links below introduce the film and the event. Those near and far interested in this matter and willing to support the project are cordially invited to the event on February 12. We hope many will come and/or spread the word so it finds the necessary support to run over an initial period of 36 months.

- See here the invitation for February 12:  https://vimeo.com/teenergy/invitation

- An introduction to the documentary film:   https://vimeo.com/teenergy/soldat  password: teenergy

 

 

1 Comment