JOINING Quakers working for peace from across Europe, British Quakers are writing to the government of Ukraine, requesting the release of Yurii Sheliazhenko, the executive director of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement.

He was arrested on charges of ‘justifying Russian aggression’, apparently because of a statement made on the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2022. But the Quaker groups note that ‘Sheliazhenko has consistently condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including in the statement made last year.’

Oliver Robertson, Head of Witness and Worship for Quakers in Britain, said: “Nobody should be forced to kill another human being. Quakers have campaigned for decades for governments to respect the right to conscientious objection to military service.

“Sadly this isn’t the only case where pacifists and conscientious objectors have been targeted. We are aware of cases in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Upholding this right, even in times of war, is a sign of a country’s commitment to respecting everyone’s freedom of religion and belief.”

* Read the statement of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement made in 2022 here.

* Read more about Quaker work for peace here.

* Source: Quakers in Britain