Addendum: letter from Barbara Forbes

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Quaker Council for European Affairs

50 Square Ambiorix

B - 1040 Brussels

Tel. (02) 230.49.35 Fax (02) 230.63.70

Dirk Panhuis

c/o VRAK

van Elewijckstraat 35, 1050 Brussels


Dear Dirk,

Since the meeting in Brussels I have been to the Netherlands for the seminar on Freedom of Conscience, which covered a broad spectrum of issues including peace tax. I enclose the paper I presented plus my introductory statement. I was a bit nervous about being a lone lay woman amongst all these lawyers (but there were two other Quaker there!), but the response to my statement was very positive.

At the seminar there was a participant from the UN Committee on Human Rights who told me that changes in the composition of the Committee could mean that peace tax cases might be considered more sympathetically in future. There was also an Irish lawyer there who pointed out that what I said at the end of my introduction about peace tax campaigners not being free to obey the law, could be a new approach in presenting cases at the Court of Human Rights, as one of the indicators of good legislation is that people should be able to obey it. He said he could send me the relevant information, and I intend to pursue this. He recommended it as a possible angle for any new cases which might be going to Strasbourg.

In the meantime we have been invited to the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Council of Europe to talk about conscientious objection to military service; the relevant rapporteur was in Leiden and publicly stated that he himself will now be pushing for an Additional Protocol. So things are moving. 

Best wishes,

signature of Barbara