For centuries Quakers have objected to war and armed service on grounds of conscience, and fought for the right to conscientious objection. Now we are campaigning for exemption to military taxation.

In Britain, there has not been military conscription since the 1950s, but citizens continue to pay for war through our taxes. Conscientious objection in Britain today is about upholding the right to refuse to pay for others to kill on our behalf.

Read more about the history of conscientious objection and Quakers.

Take action

    Support the Taxes for Peace Bill

    The right of conscientious objection to military service is now accepted by nearly all shades of political opinion. Many Quakers argue that those with a conscientious objection to war should have the legal right to have the entire military part of their taxes spent on peacebuilding. This right is a direct manifestation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18: the right of freedom to manifest a religion or belief in practice of thought, conscience and religion.

    The Taxes for Peace Bill proposes to enshrine in UK law this right to refuse to pay to kill. The proportion of income tax that goes to the Ministry of Defence would go to a non-military security fund instead, to support conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The Bill was introduced as Early Day Motion 1036 in January 2016, and is supported by several MPs. It was drafted by Conscience (offsite link), the national NGO working on this issue.

    • Register as a Conscientious Objector by making a public statement of conscience about military taxation. You can send your statement to Conscience (offsite link).
    • Conscience will include these statements in a volume of personal testimony in support of the Taxes For Peace Bill 2016.

    International Conscientious Objectors Day

    15 May marks International Conscientious Objection Day, celebrating resisters of war past and present. Quakers join people of all faiths and none at these events.

    Let us know if you're holding your own commemoration. Possible venues are listed by the Peace Pledge Union.

    Write to prisoners for peace

    You can support conscientious objectors who have been imprisoned for refusing to join the military by writing to them.

    Each year on 1 December, supporters of conscientious objection mark Prisoners for Peace Day. War Resisters' International publishes a list of prisoners who are either conscientious objectors or who have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war.

    Find out more

    • Visit Conscience, the national NGO campaigning for an increase in the proportion of tax spent on peacebuilding.
    • Visit War Resisters' International, the organisation supporting conscientious objectors around the world.

    Image: White carnations laid at Conscientious objectors stone, Tavistock Square, London (Quakers in Britain)

    Contact us

    Tim Wallis
    Peace & Disarmament Programme Manager
    020 7663 1067
    timw@quaker.org.uk
    @DisarmQuaker