Thursday, May 19, 2011

NGO Support for Conscientious Objector British Sailor

Michael Lyons, a Royal Navy medic, will be court-martialed tomorrow (May 20) related to his conscientious objector status and refusal to register for a rifle course. Dedicated to medical ethics, Lyons objected to treating non-British casualties differently than British casualties, and to serving in Afghanistan.

This has prompted Christian charity groups like the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the UK’s oldest Christian peace charity, to resolve to support him in public. Forces Watch, a group dedicated to observing ethical issues in the armed forces, has already come out and criticized the charges against Lyons.

The Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection had denied his request as being “political” as opposed to “moral,” and the military is requiring him to adhere to military discipline while still in the Navy.

UK law allows for a discharge if one develops a conscientious objection, but this is not told to recruits upon joining. Forces Watch in particular wants to see a change in the law to make this more open and accessible.

(Credit: Cadet Richard Weiland)