Action Week for Protection and Asylum for Conscientious Objectors from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine from December 4 to December 10, 2023

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Date(s) - Thursday - Dec 7, 2023 - Sunday - Dec 10, 2023
All Day


Protection and asylum for everyone from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine who refuses military service

Call for action from December 4, 2023 until International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2023.

Over 40 peace groups from across Europe are calling for actions from December 4 to the “International Human Rights Day” on December 10, 2023. They demand the admission and protection of all those who are evading the war in Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022, more than 250,000 military conscripts have left Russia – unwilling to fight in the war against Ukraine. Most have fled to Kazakhstan, Serbia, Armenia, or Georgia. 3,500 young Russians have applied for asylum in Germany. In September 2023, the Federal Ministry of the Interior reported that only 400 of these applications had been reviewed for asylum, with 90 being recognized. From Ukraine, at least 175,000 military conscripts have fled conscription since the start of the war – some to Germany, where they are currently granted protection only until March 2025. There are also thousands of military service evaders in Belarus.
“All these people do not want to kill or participate in the war in Ukraine – they must be given permanent protection,” explains Rudi Friedrich of Connection e.V., an association internationally committed to conscientious objectors. “Both the German government and the EU Commission made commitments at the beginning of the war to accept those from Russia who want to evade the war,” says Friedrich. “However, there is only a promise of protection for Russian deserters. All those who fled before being conscripted can expect a rejection in the asylum process,” the military service expert expresses disappointment.
Together with other German and European organizations, Connection e.V. submitted a petition with almost 50,000 signatures to the EU Commission in May 2023. Pax Christi, the Catholic peace movement, was also involved: “These people must be unconditionally granted asylum not only in Germany and the EU but also protected from hostility. They deserve the highest respect for their decision,” demands pax christi Federal Chairman Gerold König.
To call for an end to the persecution of conscientious objectors and deserters in their home countries and to increase pressure on the German government and the EU to admit military conscripts, numerous protest actions will take place in the week leading up to “International Human Rights Day” – from December 4 to December 10, 2023:
  • On December 6, 2023, a large banner (approx. 16 x 4m) will be hung from a bridge in Frankfurt am Main as part of a creative action.
  • In Lübeck, activists will set up a roughly 5m tall inflatable broken rifle at the central Kohlmarkt on December 7, 2023, from 12 to 18 hours.
  • In front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, there will be a rally with speakers from Belarus and Russia starting at 11 am on December 9. A visually striking street theater action is also planned.
  • On December 10, Human Rights Day, at 11 am, the monument to the unknown deserter in Potsdam, Platz der Einheit, will be adorned with flowers. Deserters and war objectors, particularly in relation to the current war in Ukraine, will be honored.
Actions are also planned in Herford, Bremen, Göttingen, Halle (Saale), Kassel, Löbau, Mainz, Naumburg (Saale), Rostock, Schwerin, and other cities. In addition, there will be actions and events in the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Great Britain, and Greece.
A list of all planned actions, the full call to action, and background material can be found at: