Courage to Resist recently contributed 1,000 euros to the advice hotline serving war resisters from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Here’s an update on those efforts (translated from German).

From Connection e.V. (Germany)

We are very grateful for all the support we receive for the work for the conscientious objectors and deserters from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Thank you very much. So far we have been able to raise about 65,000 € for this work. Furthermore, our online donation platform can be reached via de.Connection-eV.org/StopWarUkraineDonation.

We would like to report how the campaign has developed. We would be pleased if you could send this information to your friends. We also provide this information as a pdf file: Connection-eV.org/pdfs/2022-06_Newsletter.pdf.

Federal government promises protection for Russian deserters

At the end of April 2022, the Bundestag decided that deserters from Russia should receive protection. In mid-May, the Federal Ministry of the Interior then explained the regulation that “in the case of credibly made desertion of a Russian asylum applicant, it is currently generally assumed that there is a threat of persecution in the event of return to the Russian Federation.” This promise is gratifying. Regrettably, however, it will not be enough. Most conscripts from Russia flee before they have been called up – and that is a good thing. And for this group, this decision of the Ministry of Interior explicitly does not apply. We have already taken action on this at various levels.

Recent press releases

At the beginning of June 2022, MDR’s magazine Exakt reported on the situation of Russian conscientious objectors and deserters who had fled to Germany. Other reports on the subject were also published, for example in the Frankfurter Rundschau, the Tagesschau and the Berliner Zeitung. In all reports, the difficult situation of Russian conscientious objectors is explicitly mentioned.

Advice hotline

Further our counseling hotline is available under the eMail address [email protected] and via +49 157 824 702 51. There, a person is available, who can answer questions of concerned conscientious objectors and deserters in Russian, English and German. Read more at facebook.com/Connection.eV.

In addition, we are compiling brief information for dissatisfied servicemen and servicewomen from the countries. We have just updated them. In the brief information we write how the right to conscientious objection is organized in the respective countries, which possibilities there are to evade the recruitments and hints what has to be considered when applying for asylum in Western European countries. Read more at de.Connection-eV.org/get.out.2022

Joint projects across borders

We are currently preparing a discussion with the Russian organization Movement for Conscientious Objection and the Belarusian organization Nash Dom in the Bundestag. The activists will report on the situation of deserters and conscientious objectors from both countries. In this way, we also want to offer the organizations a platform to report on their respective work for the conscientious objectors. At various online events we were also able to include the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement and its work.

European network appeals to the European Parliament

Groups and organizations from over 20 countries have jointly appealed to the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to give protection and asylum to deserters and conscientious objectors from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The appeal was initiated by Connection e.V. together with War Resisters’ International (WRI), International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO). The appeal was sent to the parliamentarians these days. We accompany the appeal with public relations and lobby work on a European level.

Financial support in the network

Due to the large number of donations we were able to financially support groups and organizations working on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine with larger amounts, as well as in Estonia, Lithuania and Georgia. One focus of the support is to ensure the work of the groups also over a longer period of time. On the other hand, we can offer support to individual refusers, especially in their asylum procedures.

Materials for the campaign

Furthermore, a flyer is available in which we briefly introduce the work for deserters and refuseniks from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and give some background information. The flyer can be viewed at de.Connection-eV.org/pdfs/flyer-get-out2022.pdf and ordered free of charge at de.Connection-eV.org/shop.

2022-06_Connection

Events

For the international day of conscientious objection, May 15, we were able to offer a series of events in Frankfurt, Bochum, Nuremberg and Mainz. In Mainz we organized an afternoon at the Rhineland-Palatinate Day. And in the next weeks there will be more events. Read more at: