International Statement: Solidarity with the Egyptian Conscientious Objector Mark Nabil Sanad

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We, peace and human rights organizations, declare our support and solidarity with No to Compulsory Military Service Movement and with the Egyptian conscientious objector, Mark Nabil Sanad. We condemn the silence of Egypt’s authorities over conscientious objectors’ suffering. We call on the Egyptian authorities to restore his civil rights and to recognize his right to an exemption from the military service based on his conscientious beliefs.  Mark Nabil had informed the officers at Assiut Conscription Area on the 13th of May, 2014 of his Pacifist beliefs, and his refusal to the military service. He was interrogated by a Military Security Officer that day, then was interrogated again on the 15th of May, 2014, in the main headquarter of the Military Intelligence in Cairo. Since that date, the Egyptian military refrained from giving Mark Nabil any legal documentation stating that he had finished/was exempted from the military service. Without any such document, Mark Nabil lives deprived of his constitutional and legal rights— most important of which are the right to work, to travel and the right to education.

Mark submitted a complaint to the Army Chief of Staff on the 27th of July, 2014. He also filed a complaint against the Minister of Defense to the Attorney General on the 21st of September, 2014. On 21st of January, 2014 he sent formal requests to the Minister of Defense, the Prime Minister and the President, demanding an exemption from the military service. However, the Ministry of Defense insists on ignoring all of these complaints and letters.

In 10 Jan 2015, Mark Nabil had issued a statement explaining that his refusal to the military service is a rejection of the use of violence in conflict resolution, as well as refraining from joining an institution that has a bad history in using violence against peaceful protestors. He condemned the army’s racist treatment of civilians based on sex, religion, social status or geographical origin. He also considered his refusal to the military service not only his right, but also a responsibility towards future generations who do not deserve to inherit the systematic slavery of conscription. Since different national and international legislations guarantee freedom of belief, thought and conscience including: Article 18 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which affirms that "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion", Article 18 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits any kind of coercion that breaches the freedom of religion or belief, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report in July 2013 regarding the Right of Conscientious Objection to the military service. The Egyptian Constitution, in Article 64, also affirmed the freedom of belief. The Egyptian National and Military Service Law have established an alternative civic service in addition to the military one, and mandated the Minister of Defense to determine the due groups to be exempted from the military service.

Therefore, we call on Egypt’s government to respect international standards and meet the obligations to which it has committed itself. This includes recognizing the right of Mark Nabil Sanad to conscientious objection to military service.

 9 April 2015Signatures in alphabetic order:

Agir pour la Paix, Belgium   

Alternativa Antimilitarista - MOC de Canarias, Spain  

Asamblea Antimilitarista de Madrid, Spain

Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors, Greece

Bund für Soziale Verteidigung (BSV), Germany

Cairo Liberal Forum, Egypt   

Connection e.V., Germany

Conscience: Taxes for Peace not War, United Kingdom     

Conscientious Objection Association, Turkey

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), Belgium

Evangelische Kirche von Kurhessen-Waldeck, Germany

German Peace Society (DFG-VK), Germany   

Grupo Antimilitarista de Carabanchel, Spain    

Initiative of Conscientious Objection, Cyprus

International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), International

Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie e.V., Germany

Laboratorio de Paz, Venezeula

Movimento Nonviolento, Italy      

Ohne Rüstung Leben, Germany    

Periódico El Libertario, Venezeula

Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos, Venezeula

Revolussia Asociación para el Estudio de la Noviolencia, Spain     

The Fellowship of Reconciliation, Austria     

Union Pacifiste De France, France

Vredesbeweging PAIS, Netherlands Vredesactie, Belgium

War Resisters’ International

War Resisters’ League, USA

Women Peacemakers Program (WPP), The Netherlands   

World Without War, South Korea


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