National Ceremony on Tavistock Square in London

International Day of Conscientious Objection

by Peace Pledge Union

(15.05.2024) The International Day of Conscientious Objection 2024 was marked with speeches and music before the conscientious objectors memorial stone in Tavistock Square, London. The ceremony paid tribute to the struggles of conscientious objectors in Israel, as well as in Russia, Ukraine, and many other countries around the world.

The International Day of Conscientious Objection 2024 was celebrated with a contributions by Or, an Israeli conscientious objector and member of the feminist anti-militarist organization New Profile. “Supporting conscientious objectors for me is to fight against militarisation around the world, is to speak up for what they believe in, whether they are in Israel, Turkey, Myanmar, North Korea, South Korea, Finland or Iran. To remember the young people making brave choices, saying NO I am not going to kill or get killed, I choose peace”, they stated.

Semih Sapmaz from War Resisters’ International (WRI) spoke about the contemporary struggles of COs around the world. He explained that “conscientious objection is a human right, recognised as an integral part of “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While the severity of the treatment of COs varies, the failure of states to uphold their rights is a near-universal feature of militarism worldwide.”

The Speeches were followed by a reading of COs’ names from across history, flowers were laid on the memorial stone, followed by a minute’s silence.

The event was hosted by John Cooper from the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and musically accompanied by Raised Voices Choir. It was recorded and can be watched in full length on YouTube here:

Peace Pledge Union: International Day of Conscientious Objection, National Ceremony 2024. Video recording of the National Ceremony on Tavistock Square in London. May 15, 2024.