Conscientious Objectors


A conscientious objector is one who is opposed to serving in the armed forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles.

Read about Ward Miles, Harold Carson, and Howard Scott's CO experiences in WWII. by Jackie Renn in Real Change News.


International Conscientious Objectors' Day is closely linked to the International Conscientious Objectors' Meeting (ICOM). Between 1981 and 1997, ICOM was organized every year by groups affiliated to War Resisters' International.

Support for Israeli "Refuseniks" Israeli Consulate Photos,San Francisco 5/18/2003

New York Rally Jews Against the Occupation, Photos

Conscientious Objection in War

Iraq Crisis Resources

Refusing to Bear Arms online

The Refusing to Bear Arms report is now available online. Access to the full English edition is restricted to readers who apply for a password. Visit the registration page here or use your password to enter the site here.

The Conscientious Objector's Guide to the UN Human Rights System (WRI/CONCODOC, 2000)

How to Object: Tips for young people
When a draft is reinstated, everyone who's fit will be summoned. As in the past, those who resist will endure close scrutiny.

That's why Vietnam CO Howard Welsh has put together tips for young men and women who suspect they'd be unwilling to fight. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds can prepare to assert their beliefs well before they have to register with the Selective Service, at age 18. Here are some things to do:

  1. Write a letter expressing that you object to all wars based on deeply held philosophical or religious principles. This is your Affidavit of Fact.
  2. Sign it, have it notarized, and get two other witnesses who are not related to you and are registered voters to sign it. Send copies to your friends, family, and professional acquaintances. Be sure to send a copy by certified mail to your U.S. Congressperson.
  3. Get five letters of substantiation confirming your decision from your parents or relatives, your religious leader, or your doctor. Each letter should say that they know you as a conscientious objector. Each letter needs to be postmarked.
  4. The Affidavit of Fact can be filed with any Federal District Court as a document in any Selective Service proceeding.
  5. Once you turn 18 and have to register with the Selective Service, you should write on the card, "I am a Conscientious Objector." Before mailing the card, make a copy for your file; the Selective Service discards the card once they enter it into the system.
  6. Keep your documents secure and ready. It is a good idea to resubmit these documents to federal legislators and the Selective Service every two years.
  7. In the event of a draft, don't just wait and see what happens. The burden of proof is on you; maintain your file.

[Tips provided by Jackie Renn]