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Joint statement: Freedom to Conscientious Objectors in the Middle East
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Freedom to Conscientious Objectors in the Middle East

Joint Statement

Together, we in No to Compulsory Military Service (Egypt) and New Profile
(Israel) confirm our support of peace and of conscientious objectors in both
countries, re-affirming the human right to freedom of conscience, faith and
self-determination. We condemn the way both our governments treat conscientious
objectors: Natan Blank, Emad El Dafrawi, and Mohammed Fathy.

Natan Blanc, 19-year old Israeli conscript who first refused to serve in the
Israeli army on November 19, 2012 and since has been in and out of military
prison for the last 5 months, and still counting, declared at an alternative
beacon lighting ceremony on April 14th 2013: I refuse because I will not serve
in an army that violates human rights regularly. I refuse because I will not
serve as a tool to preserve the occupation... I refuse because it is the moral
thing to do. I would like to dedicate this beacon to all the Palestinian
detainees that are currently held in Administrative Detention I remember always
that while I am here in the spotlight, they are languishing in jail without
being convicted of any offence.

In Egypt: Emad el Dafrawi, declared his conscientious objection to military
service on April 12, 2012, and Mohamed Fathy Abdo Soliman, 23-years old,
declared his conscientious objection to military service on July 20, 2012. Both
declared that military service contradicts their belief in peace, and refuse
all forms of violence and bearing arms. Both sent letters to the Minister of
Defense and other Egyptian officials, asking for exemption from military service
and serving a civilian service instead. For nearly a year now they have been
living without most of their civil rights. They are not allowed to work, study
or travel. They are not even allowed to hold a travel document. The Egyptian
state still ignores their suffering.

The right to conscientious objection is one of the basic human rights, as the
right to freedom of expression and life, and is recognized in international
charters on human rights such as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (both signed and
ratified by both Egypt and Israel). Therefore, the movements No to Compulsory
Military Service and New Profile call on both governments to respect
international laws and meet their obligations to which they committed themselves
in view of the international community, and to recognize the right of Natan
Blanc, Emad el Dafrawi and Mohamed Fathy to conscientious objection to military
service.

Cairo Jerusalem

April 28, 2013


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