Fight against nationalism and militarism. Conscientious objection. Civilian service
Sarajevo, 6th April 2002
After discussing on the relationship between nationalism and militarism and their connection with conscientious objection and civilian service, participants to the 4th working group sorted out the following issues as crucial:
10 years of war in the Balkans left deep wounds behind. Not just damaged buildings, destroyed economy and infrastructures, millions of displaced, killed or missing persons. Disrupt attitude towards basic human values (particularly human rights, freedom and dignity) caused by the shift of consciousness that occurred in the minds of all the people who were in some way affected by the war, is a wound as serious as those mentioned above.
Fully aware of the role of military structures and patriarchal social relationships that they preserve, we, the representatives of civil society, demand:
belonging to that part of the society that has given the greatest contribution to its humanization, we ask to be more involved in the decision-making process; especially with regards to domestic and foreign politics as well as defense issues in our countries. We are asking for a full integration of international human rights standards and respect of rights and dignity of all citizens.
We believe that defense issues shouldn't be faced only by - so called -"high politics" members. On the contrary those issues must be the concern ot the same people who are the target group (often only objects and means) of defense strategies.
In the past ten years we learned that defense issues can be dealt with by the means of non-violent conflict resolution and not only by strengthening the military power of a country.
We are asking for both wider political and financial support in order to increase the involvement of civil society in the decision-making process.
Conscientious objection is guaranteed as a human right in several international documents but, above that, we are asking for its inclusion in constitutional regulations, also in the perspective of a new European constitution.
We think that these demands are perfectly match the tenets of the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, which primarly promotes equal human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.
In our opinion, accepting conscientious objection will contribute to fight nationalism. If we provide the youth with alternative ways to to serve their country than serving in the military, we give them a chance to try to fulfill other needs of their country that are directly bound with its defense requirements. Day after day, we are more and more aware that training young people to kill must not be a principal defense strategy.