Jim Joyce: AICS(ES) Coordinator for Israel, OPT, Palestine
“This state, this country, this society, are too important for me to be silent. I wish my refusal, even if I pay a personal price for it, will help bring the occupation to the Israel public discourse.”
These are the words of 19 year old Conscientious objector (CO), Tair Kaminer, an Israeli from Tel Aviv who was given her sixth and longest prison sentence [forty-five days] on 19 June 2016 for refusing to serve in the Israeli army. She objects to her military service call-up because she does not wish to participate in the commission of human rights violations against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Israel’s practice is to sentence a conscientious objector to a short period of detention usually twenty or -twenty five days. Upon its end, the call up is renewed, and if refused, another period of detention is ordered by the military judge. Israel has never granted a CO a hearing on the grounds for the objection to military service.
The right to refuse military service for reasons of conscience is inherent in the notion of freedom of thought, conscience and religion as laid down in a number of international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Amnesty International considers total or selective objectors to military service for reasons of conscience to be prisoners of conscience, when, as in the case of Israel, no alternative service is available. As such, Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Tair Kaminer and is calling on the state of Israel to create an alternative form of service for its citizens who are unwilling to carry out military service in Israel and or the Occupied Territories.
For more information and to take action contact Jim Joyce Watch YouTube video of Tair Kaminer speaking at a support demonstration immediately prior to her imprisonment.
Jim Joyce is Amnesty International Canada’s Coordinator for Israel/OPT/Palestine. You can contact him here.