EVERY YEAR, on 15 May, conscientious objectors, both past and present are remembered. Around the world, many people are imprisoned or forced to flee their home countries for refusing to join the armed forces.

This is a day when peace activists and pacifists stand in solidarity with conscientious objectors, as well as celebrating the memory of those throughout history who have resisted conscription.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) is inviting people to join together in London’s Tavistock Square for speeches and music in front of the conscientious objectors’ memorial stone. This year, the ceremony will focus on conscientious objectors in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, as well as the often overlooked role of women conscientious objectors across history.

There will be  contributions from:

  • Belarusian peace activist Olga K.arach from Our House who  will send a message on the situation faced by conscientious objectors in Belarus today
  • Semih Sapmaz from War Resisters’ International who will speak on the struggle of conscientious objectors around the world.
  •  Feminist historian Ali Ronan who will speak on the overlooked women who supported conscientious objectors during and after the First World War
  •  Actor and playwright Michael Mears wi’ll host the ceremony

Speeches will be followed by a reading of the names of conscientious objectors from around the world. Flowers will be laid on the memorial stone, followed by a minute’s silence.

Events to mark Conscientious Objectors’ Day this year will be happening in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton, Leicester, Leeds and elsewhere. Visit the PPU  events page to find one near you.

* Source: Peace Pledge Union