Connection: Right to Conscientious Objection

Peace Award 2024: Award Winner "Award of the Donors"

Connection e.V. campaigns internationally for a comprehensive right to conscientious objection and supports men and women who are persecuted because of their conscientious objection. The association works together with international and local groups and organisations that are committed against war, the military and conscription.

The difficult legal and political situation in many countries forces many conscientious objectors to flee. Refusal to participate in war often leads to prosecution in their own country, but is often not recognised as grounds for asylum in most countries. That is why Connection e.V. offers them counselling and support so that they receive the necessary protection. In addition, the association promotes the self-organisation of refugees.

The association was founded in 1993 and built up an international network of deserters to enable soldiers to escape from the wars in the states of the former Yugoslavia. A regular exchange with deserters in Latin America, Africa and Russia developed.

A special focus was and is the support of conscientious objectors in Turkey. This campaign achieved the provisional release of Mehmet Tarhan in 2006.

After Eritrean deserters reported persecution in their country of origin, Connection supported the founding of the Eritrean Anti-Militarist Initiative. The victims had reported numerous human rights violations against recruits and denounced raids and forced recruitments as well as the use of child soldiers.

During the US Army‘s war in Iraq, Connection supported several US conscientious objectors in proceedings before the European Court of Justice to have their refusal of military service recognised as grounds for asylum.

In addition to its concrete commitment and lobbying for conscientious objectors and deserters, Connection has repeatedly positioned itself against wars and military force as a means of politics.

Since the war of aggression against Ukraine, Connection has been involved in the #ObjectWarCampaign and with actions for the right to conscientious objection of Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian soldiers and their right to asylum. In the campaign, they draw attention to the fact that in all three countries there is no or only a very limited right to conscientious objection. In times of global tensions, armament tendencies and wars, states often react by restricting this right, although it is a human right. No one may be forced to participate in a war against their conscience. The network does political lobbying and shows how important and at the same time threatened the right to conscientious objection is.

Proposed by Hannes Menke


Germany | International

Proposed by:
Hannes Menke

Human Rights | Peace Logic


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