JOINT PRESS RELEASE 21 September: International Day of Peace Youth activists meeting, resolution and action in St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg, 22 September 2012
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
On 21 September 2012, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, the human rights organisation “Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg”, the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, and the human rights group “Citizen. Army. Law” organised a youth activists meeting (at the conference-hall of the Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg”) and a public event for peace and conscientious objection to military service (near Vladimirskaya Metro Station) in St. Petersburg, Russia.
During the youth activists meeting, young people from Russia and other countries joined to discuss peace, non-violence, conflict resolution, human rights and conscientious objection to compulsory military service. In the end they adopted a resolution which was published later, during the public event. The public event included picketing, sharing of the resolution and discussion with the people, as well as an artistic creation of the peace sign by joining nails with a multi-colour thread. The latter symbolised that when different people (multi-colour) join together (thread) they can overcome the problems (nails) and create peace (sign).
The main aim of these activities was to bring together youth individuals and organisations from Russia and other countries, to encourage participation and initiative, and to establish cooperation in the field of peace, human rights, antimilitarism and antinationalism.
Note: Attached please find the profile of the organisations, the poster, the joint resolution and some photos of the youth activists meeting and public event.
European Bureau for Conscientious Objection: Alexia Tsouni, Coordinator, +32 485 313 436, firstname.lastname@example.org
Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg: Elena Popova, Coordinator on Conscientious Objection, +7 964 363 01 36, email@example.com
Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights: Andrey Kalikh, Human rights program director, +7 904 610 53 86, firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights Group “Citizen. Army. Law”: Vera Pisareva, Press Officer, +7 916 511 78 10, email@example.com
With the support of the Youth in Action programme of the European Union
Profile of the organisations
The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) was founded in Brussels in 1979 as an umbrella structure for national associations of conscientious objectors in the European countries to promote the right to conscientious objection to preparations for, and participation in, war and any other type of military activity as a fundamental human right. EBCO enjoys participatory status with the Council of Europe since 1998 and is a member of its Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations since 2005. EBCO provides expertise and legal opinions on behalf of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe. EBCO is involved in drawing up the annual report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament on the application by the Member States of its resolutions on conscientious objection and civilian service, as determined in the “Bandrés Molet & Bindi Resolution” of 1994. EBCO is a member of the European Youth Forum since 1995.
The Saint Petersburg regional human rights organisation “Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg” has been actively engaged since 1991 in uniting public efforts to protect the lives, health and civil rights of draftees, service members, and members of their families, and to offer legal, social, and psychological assistance to the citizens of Russia. The organisation definitely considers conscientious objection to military service one of the fundamental human rights, and is looking forward to the abolition of conscription in Russia.
The Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (CDDHR) was established in Moscow in 1998 as an independent non-profit non-governmental organisation in Russia. CDDHR’s mission is the development of effective democratic institutions and the creation of sustainable mechanisms for human rights protection in Russia by influencing public policy in these areas, creating conditions for civic participation in decision making from local communities to the international level and empowering individuals and groups to play a more influential role in the communities they belong to. CDDHR strives to make democracy work for people living in Russia and to assist them in finding in democracy a practical meaning relevant for their lives.
The human rights group “Citizen. Army. Law” was established in Moscow in May 2010 by the leaders of the nationwide NGO Coalition for a Democratic Alternative Service, which since 2001 has worked to support the development of democratic alternative civil service, and since 2003 has been implementing the all-Russian monitoring of human rights violations during the process of military conscription and military service. The main goal of the Group is to protect the rights and legal interests of conscripts or conscientious objectors, those being in military service or alternative civilian service, as well as members of their families.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.