International delegation at Serdar Kuni's trial in Sirnak/TurkeyOn 24 April 2017, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the second hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender from Turkey imprisoned last October. Below is the statement of the international delegation, including Andreas Speck from War Resisters' International, explaining their concerns from the trial yesterday.
War Resisters' International has a CO-Alert system that we use to pressure authorities across the world where conscientious objectors (COs) face persecution.
Hundreds of subscribers receive an email, and they use an email template (here's an example) to protest the treatment of COs to the relevant authorities, for example asking for their release from forced recruitment or imprisonment.
Our information about CO-Alerts come from grassroots activists supporting COs, and we rely on their information. We'd love to hear from you when you know there is a CO at risk, or facing repression, so that we can use CO-Alerts to spread news of their situation amongst pacifist supporters around the world, and to campaign for their improved treatment. You can write to us in any language, but we can reply in English, Spanish or Turkish. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
European Bureau of Conscientious Objection held its spring General Assembly last week at the Peace House in Brussels. he meeting was attended by WRI and COs and activists from Belgium, Catalonia, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Turkey, and the UK. The EBCO Board repeated its call to the Greek Government to keep its promises to address shortcomings in its legislation and procedures regarding conscientious objection to military service.
In November 2016, an EBCO delegation, headed by Vice-President Sam Biesemans, met the Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr. Dimitrios Vitsas in Athens. As reported by EBCO delegation, the Deputy Minister recognised the existing problems and expressed the intention to present to the parliament a draft law specifically on conscientious objection. In its press release, EBCO Board stated that they will “carefully monitor the process”. They are also offering their assistance to the Greek authorities in bringing their conscientious objection provisions into line with European and international human rights standards.
Read EBCO's statement here: http://www.ebco-beoc.org/node/421
Serdar KuniThis month, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender in Şırnak, Turkey. Dr. Kuni was arrested last October, accused of “providing treatment to alleged militants” and not informing security services about it. In the trial, which was attended by 70 people, including six observers from Germany, UK, Sweden, Norway and US, Dr.
Activists in Madrid have taken action against Spain's biggest arms fair, with large demonstrations accompanied by nonviolent direct action, which saw activists covering themselves in red paint and unfurling banners at the entrance to the HOMESEC arms fair, in Madrid.
Activists - including members of WRI - celebrate being found not guilty after actions against DSEI in 2015WRI's Council meets once a year, to discuss the future work of the network. This year, our meeting will be in London in September, hosted by our affiliates Peace Pledge Union, Fellowship of Reconciliation (UK), Campaign Against the Arms Trade, and Trident Ploughshares, and coincide with the mobilisations against the DSEI arms fair.
Atalia Ben-Abba is an imprisoned Israeli conscientious objectorAfter 115 days of imprisonment, Israeli conscientious objector Tamar Ze'evi has had her objection to military service recognised, and has been granted CO status as a political refuser. However, conscientious objectors Atalia Ben-Abba and Tamar Alon have been imprisoned again for their refusal to take part in the occupation and serve in the IDF. This is Atalia's second, and Tamar's sixth imprisonment, and each will spend 30 days more behind bars. Click here send a protest email to the Israeli authorities.
Along with our email alert, you can also send your solidarity messages to Atalia and Tamar. Use this link to write them and your messages will be passed on.
Diego Blanco has been illegally recruited into the Colombian militaryConscientious Objector Diego Fernando Blanco López from Colombia has been illegally recruited by the Colombian army, despite his right to postpone due to being a student. He is currently being forced to serve in the Grupo de Caballeria Mecanicado No 4 Juan de Corral of the Colombian Army in Rionegro, Antioquia.
Since his declaration of conscientious objection on 20th March 2017, Diego Blanco has been subjected to aggression and harassment by his superiors. When he refused to take arms earlier this week, he was attacked by the First Sergeant Oscar Camacho Cartagena and has been threatened with a court martial for disobedience/insubordination.
Support Diego Blanco with your protest emails to the authorities. Send your emails here.
Activists spill red paint outside the doors of the European Defence Agency
The War Resisters' International network gathers once a year, to discuss the work of the network and make plans for the future. This year's WRI Council meeting will take place in London in September, coinciding with DSEI - Defence & Security Equipment International - the biggest arms fair in the world. We will take part in actions before and after Council to disrupt the fair.
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Climate jobs not bombs!
Early this week, War Resisters' International joined a group of international organisations to observe the hearing of Serdar Küni, a doctor and veteran human rights defender in Şırnak, Turkey. Dr. Küni has been kept in custody since October 2016, accused of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) under Article 314/2 of Turkish Penal Code. His first trial, attended by 70 observers, including six observers from Germany, UK, Sweden, Norway and US. took place on 13th March, Monday.
This is an urgent call from the Human Rights Association (HRA - Turkey) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) with whom WRI has been working for many years. In the morning of the 15th March, M.Raci Bilici Chairperson of Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır Branch and Vice-Chairperson of İHD Headquarters has been arrested along with 11 old and new representatives of the NGOs in Diyarbakır. As reported by the HRFT alleged charges are not learned yet due to the confidentiality order on the investigation file.
Image: WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner of ADEX, the Seoul arms fair, in October 2015The arms trade is international, but so is our resistance.
In September, WRI are planning to hold their annual Council meeting in London, so that activists from around the world can help British groups to shut down DSEI, the world’s biggest arms fair!
In November 2015, 27 Peace Action Wellington (PAW) activists were arrested for protesting peacefully outside the Weapons Conference in Wellington. 15 of them faced trial last week. Over the course of seven days in court fifteen charges of obstruction, trespass and disorderly behaviour were dismissed or found not guilty due to lack of evidence. In their statement, Peace Action Wellington said
This year's WRI Council meeting will take place in London in September, coinciding with DSEI - Defence & Security Equipment International - the biggest arms fair in the world. We will take part in actions before and after Council to disrupt the fair.
The schedule for our events is as follows: