Nearly 50,000 signatures handed over in Berlin on the International Day of Conscientious Objection

Conscientious objection is a human right. This includes the right to asylum!

On this year’s International Day of Conscientious Objection, 30 organizations from Europe called for protection for all those who refuse military service in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. During a festive event, almost 50,000 signatures of the #ObjectWarCampaign collected on the platform were handed over to the European Commission in Berlin. The presentation of the petition was accompanied by speeches of national and international guests from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, additional actions and music.

Rudi Friedrich, Connection e.V.: "Deserters and conscientious objectors from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus must be guaranteed refugee protection within the European Union. Substanial protection for all those who refuse war is long overdue."

Maria Alexandrova, Movement of Conscientious Objection, Russia: "Let us be voices of peace in the face of war and oppression. Let us speak truth against censorship. Let us defend nonviolence in the midst of war. In this way, we support today’s conscientious objectors and pave the way for a future."

Yurii Sheliazhenko, Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, in a greeting message: "I urge you to support the #ObjectWarCampaign. Ukraine has suspended the right to conscientious objection. The European Union must strongly reaffirm respect for the human right to conscientious objection and insist that Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine also respect this human right. Human rights are a foundation for a just peace."

Olga Karatch, Nash Dom, Belarus: "We can win in this war only if we agree NOT to fight, if we do NOT speak the language of war and hate, if we do NOT agree to the idea that human rights mean nothing, that they are not universal."

Tareq Alaows, PRO ASYL: "Asylum is a human right. This includes the right to conscientious objection. It is intolerable that the European Union wants to undermine access to the right to asylum. People fleeing military service by a terrorist regime also face rejection at their borders under the EU’s plans."

Michael Zimmermann, Protestant Working Group for Conscientious Objection and Peace (EAK): "Thou shalt not kill, says the Bible. No one shloud be forced to shoot a person against their conscience. Those who therefore evade military service need our support and a generous grant of asylum."

Around 80 people took part during the central event in front of the European Commission. Together they commemorated those people who claim the right to conscientious objection – the right to refuse to kill – and in this way actively participate in resistance from below. This is true of hundreds of thousands of people in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. They are deserting, refusing to serve, refusing orders, or evading recruitment.

Therefore, the participating organizations call on the governments of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to immediately stop the persecution of conscientious objectors and deserters. They expect the EU and the German government to open the borders and to protect conscientious objectors and deserters from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine through the right of asylum.

The campaign was a clear signal to stop the war in Ukraine and to strengthen the resistance on all sides. The highlight was the handover of almost 50,000 signatures, which were collected during the #ObjectWarCampaign and received by representatives of the European Commission. 

Photos of the event can be downloaded at:

Further information about the #ObjectWarCampaign can be found at:

Alliance for Protection and Asylum for Conscientious Objectors from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, May 15, 2023

Weeks of actions to International Day of Conscientious Objection were initiated by act for transformation; Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dienst für den Frieden (AGDF); Arbeitskreis Asyl Tribsees; Armin T. Wegner Gesellschaft e.V.; Aseistakieltäytyjäliitto, Finland; BOCS Civilization Planning Foundation, Ungarn; Church and Peace - Ecumenical Peace Church Network in Europe; Connection e.V.; Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft – Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen (DFG-VK); European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO); Ev. Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kriegsdienstverweigerung und Frieden (EAK); Federation of Social Defense; Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen e.V., Friedensbüro Salzburg, Austria; graswurzelrevolution; Hessischer Flüchtlingsrat; Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner*innen (IDK); International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Germany; International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR); Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie e.V.; Lebenshaus Schwäbische Alb e.V.; Movement of Conscientious Objectors, Russia; Nash Dom, Belarus; NaturFreunde Deutschlands; Netzwerk Friedenskooperative; pax christi – German Section; Pro Asyl; Ukraine Pacifist Movement; Vicdani Ret İzleme, Turkey; War Resisters‘ International;

Keywords:    ⇒ Connection e.V. - About Us   ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Europe