International Conscientious Objection Day (CO Day), 15th May, was celebrated with actions and events by activists from around the world in solidarity with those who have and those who continue to resist war. This year we had a particular focus on Turkey.
Following reports on right-wing extremism activities by active or former members of the German army, the new commissioner for the armed forces, Eva Högl, started a debate affirming that “ending conscription was a big mistake” and reintroducing it might help tackle antidemocratic ideas inside the army. The Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer rejected the idea of the return of compulsory military service, announcing, on the other hand, a new voluntary service called “Your year for Germany” which will be introduced in 2021.
The latest issue of our newsletter CO Update is out! In this issue, you'll find stories on conscientious objection and conscription from Ukraine,Turkey, Eritrea, Germany, USA, Azerbaijan, Thailand, among others.
PRO ASYL and Connection e.V., both based in Germany, released a report criticising the German government for its record of denying refugee status for asylum seekers from Eritrea. In their report, the organisations detailed the ongoing oppressive practices of the Eritrean regime, despite a peace treaty between Ethiopia and Eritrea in July 2018. They called on German authorities and courts to provide necessary protection for Eritreans fleeing the oppression and indefinite conscription in Eritrea in accordance with the UNHCR guidelines and Geneva Convention.
The German arms company Sig Sauer has announced it intends to close its arms factory in Eckernförde by the end of year. The company blamed "locational handicaps" and the German military and police preferring a "few other local producers".
In late April the German government’s Defence Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, proposed the purchase 93 Eurofighters made by Airbus and 45 F-18s built by the US-based company Boeing, to replace its Tornado bomber-fighter fleet.
Germany Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer suggested opening the debate on reintroducing military service for high school graduates. After doing a “listening tour” of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) branches, Annegret Kramp-karrembauer came out in favor of starting the discussion of reintroducing compulsory national service in Germany.
CBC Global Ammunition is a holding company which owns a number of subsidaries around the world, specialising in ammunition for portable weapons. The subsidiaries included: Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos (CBC), Brazil; Czech company Sellier & Bellot; MEN in Germany; and Magtech, based in Minnesota in the USA.
Activists in Germany have disrupted the annual general meeting of arms company Rheinmetall, holding banners protesting the use of tanks manufactured by the company by the Turkish military in Kurdish regions.