RUSSIA: Labelling the Movement of Conscientious Objectors as “Foreign Agent”

EBCO – BEOC (30.06.2023) – The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), War Resisters’ International (WRI), the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and Connection e.V. (Germany) strongly condemn the listing of the Russian Movement of Conscientious Objectors as “Foreign Agent” as of June 23rd2023. This action is another blatant human rights violation, a fundamentally discriminatory application of law that contradicts universally accepted human rights and freedoms.

The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation accuses the Movement of Conscientious Objectors of disseminating supposedly false information about the government’s actions, decisions, and policies, in addition to opposing Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. For the current government of the Russian Federation these allegations are sufficient to warrant the stigmatisation of the organisation.

The four organisations urge Russia to stop stigmatising human rights organisations and human rights defenders, and immediately and unconditionally release all those hundreds of soldiers and mobilised civilians who object to engage in the war and are illegally detained and even ill-treated.

The right to conscientious objection to military service is inherent in the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, guaranteed under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is non-derogable even in a time of public emergency, as stated in Article 4(2) of ICCPR.

Conscientious objection is a tangible contribution to peace; therefore, the protection of this human right is even more crucial in wartime.

Despite these increased threats, the Russian Movement of Conscientious Objectors remains committed to supporting those who resist war and forced conscription and informing the global community about their ongoing work and challenges. This situation underlines the importance of continued support in these challenging times, through raising awareness, networking, outreach opportunities and fundraising (

Strongly condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the four organisations call Russia and Ukraine to safeguard the right to conscientious objection to military service, fully complying with the European and international standards, amongst others the standards set by the European Court of Human Rights.

The four organisations also denounce all the cases of forced and even violent recruitment to the armies in Russia and Ukraine and call these two countries to stop to persecute conscientious objectors, deserters and non-violent anti-war protestors.

Further reading about FORB in Russia on HRWF website