Aseistakieltäytyjäliitto (the Union of Conscientious Objectors, AKL) is an anti-militarist peace organization. It acts as an advocacy organization for conscientious objectors (people serving non-military service, total objectors, reserve objectors) and is also an open anti-militarist youth organization that deals with other issues than those directly related to conscientious objection. Anyone, regardless of age or gender, is welcome to join!
What do we want?
The Union sees the inequalities between people and the lack of real influence that create and sustain militaristic structures as the cause of the wars. It works to eliminate these causes and break militarism. It sees both compulsory military service and army as unnecessary and detrimental to the well-being of humanity.
AKL does not believe in security that is based on weapons. It is a false starting point that the interests of different states and the people who live in them are the opposite, that security is security against other states, against other people. Killing or preparing to kill other people does not provide protection against real threats, such as environmental problems or poverty. Rather, war and armaments exacerbate these problems by wasting the much-needed economic and human resources to solve and prevent them.
AKL wants to play its part in building a world with true security. Security that is not based on weapons but on the fact that nobody needs weapons anymore. AKL's activities are based on the International Declaration of War Resisters:
“War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war”
AKL considers the Army and the conscription system redundant and calls for their abolition. As long as they exist, AKL will support total objectors and work to develop civilian service so that conscientious objection or otherwise avoiding military service becomes a noteworthy option for more and more conscripts.
AKL strives to develop legislation on conscientious objection by influencing decision-making authorities in the Parliament and Ministries (Ministry of Employment and the Economy and Ministry of Defense) and by raising public awareness about the grievances of conscription.
The Association has a representative on the Advisory Board on Civilian Service Affairs, which discusses issues related to civilian service development and makes proposals to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor. Read our requirements for developing a civilian service system here.
We are constantly campaigning against discrimination against conscientious objectors in society and the delay in military when processing civilian service applications.
One of our most important activities is sharing information about conscientious objection. We advise conscientious objectors and persons who are considering conscientious objection. We'll tell you about the alternatives to military service: civilian service, total objection, getting an exemption, and reserve objection.
Every fall, AKL organizes an call-up campaign where volunteers distribute flyers about alternatives to military service in front of the call points. Information is also shared at music festivals and many other events.
The Alliance provides legal assistance to conscientious objectors. If necessary, we will make inquiries with those who have been subjected to illegal activities, defend total objectors and defend those who have been charged for civilian service crimes.
AKL is campaigning for the release of Finnish prisoners of conscience and defending their human rights. If necessary, it complains to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy or to the Parliamentary Ombudsman and complains about human rights.
The AKL visits the Lapinjärvi Non-Military Service Center to talk about the rights of civilian servants and criticism of military service and militarism.
AKL also acts as a broader anti-militarist organization that engages in grassroots activism. The themes of recent years have included campaign against global militarism and action against the arms trade. We express our opinion, disseminate information and organize events from seminars to open, non-violent direct action.
The union organizes concerts and supports also other anti-militaristic culture. We publish four times a year a magazine named Antimilitaristi, which our members receive free tot heir homes.
The association works with other grassroots movements. The most established cooperation has been with the Food Not Bombs campaign. By distributing free vegan food for those in need, the campaign opposes the huge sums spent in arms as people starve and social inequalities increase. Food Not Bombs is an international campaign that operates around the world.
The Union works in close cooperation with other anti-militaristic organizations in other countries. It is the Finnish branch of the War Resisters' International (WRI). We also act on behalf of the anti-militarists and conscientious objectors of other countries in Finland. The Union also has a representative in the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), which produces an annual report on conscientious objection in Council of Europe countries.
AKL participates in European anti-militarist activities. For example, we have organized trips to civil disobedience events against nuclear weapons and NATO across Europe.
AKL's office is located at Rauhanasema, Eastern Pasila, Helsinki. The office has two part-time employees. The office provides advice by telephone, e-mail and letter and also answers media questions.
Most of our activities are done by volunteers. The association has local operations throughout Finland. If you are interested in joining us, contact us! Our action is open to all and does not require membership.
Support from individual people is important for the continuation of our anti-militarist work. You can support us by joining us or by donating. You can also buy our merch on our website.