[Latest News] [Who are the PEACE TAX SEVEN?] [What have their consciences led them to do?] [What are the moral arguments?] [What are the legal arguments?] [What are the alternatives?] [The History of War Tax Resistance] [Contempt of Conscience - Documentary Film] [Links]

What is this
thing all about?
Who Are We?
The People
Individual Cases
PEACE TAX SEVEN Press Cuttings:

Video - Contempt of Conscience
Conscientious Objection
Moral Arguments
War Tax Resistance - a brief history
Why War Does Not Work
What Are The Alternatives?
What happens if I withhold my taxes?
First CO Private Members Bill
Rogues Gallery
Legal Case
Our Legal Team
Letter Before Action
Treasury's Reply
Final Letter Before Action
Treasury's Final Reply
High Court refusal for hearing
Skeleton argument for appeal
Treasury's skeleton argument against appeal
Our reply to Treasury's argument
Court of Appeal judgment
Application to European Court of Human Rights
Conscientious Objectors Day
DSEi Arms Fair
Campaign Mini Conference
All Wales Peace and Justice Festival
G8 Make Poverty History campaign
Gig Hendre - N Wales
News in 2006
News in 2007
News in 2008
Site Map
We are SEVEN UK CITIZENS who went to the EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS to claim the right for CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS to have the MILITARY part of their TAXES diverted to a PEACE FUND
We think this is important because:

Governments should respect the consciences of their citizens, particularly in the matter of deliberately taking human lives.

Society develops morally when governments take heed of public conscience, ie. abolition of capital punishment, excuse from military service on conscientious grounds, abolition of slavery.

A Peace Fund would install a measuring scale of the public’s conscience which government ought to find useful.

Such a fund would put a moral pressure on government to try harder to find other ways of resolving conflict than using violence.

Now more than ever, it is important to bring this moral argument into wider debate.

< Explore our resources on peace tax and our case
Peace Tax Seven outside the High Court

Your taxes pay for killing people
Many of us don’t even think about it! We may in principle object to war and protest when other people are sent to fight them. For instance one and a half million (by the most conservative estimate) protested in London against the Iraq war and were ignored by the government. But war can only happen because the weapons and the training is paid for by us out of our taxes.

If you paid someone to go and kill an enemy, you would be as guilty of murder as the perpetrator. This is recognised in law and morally. Paying for the government’s killing machine is no different.

We all bear a responsibility in our society and we should not be made to do something we believe is morally wrong. This is recognised in the Geneva Convention, the Nuremberg Principles and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Don't let this continue to happen
When one and a half millions people took to the streets of London in February 2003 to protest at the war against Iraq, hundreds of thousands more signed petitions, attended meetings, held vigils, prayed, wrote letters, emails, dressed up, made banners, role played, lobbied their MP's and made their presence known in every city and town in Britain. The government paid no heed to our concerns and went ahead and executed their war in our name and with our taxes. Help us ensure that a British government never ignores people of conscience again.

What the PEACE TAX SEVEN have done
We, seven British citizens, made a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that our rights are violated by a tax system which makes us pay for the deliberate killing of other human beings. We regard this as a form of conscription, the same as military service and believe all tax paying citizens should have the right to conscientious objection to paying tax for the military.

We are asking to continue to pay all of our taxes, but to have the military part placed in a ring-fenced fund solely for peaceful purposes such as health care, education and non-violent conflict resolution. We have each tried to direct our income taxes to be used for peaceful and non-military purposes. In each case we were denied the right, and each of us has faced a dilemma: either to pay our taxes and so become complicit in killing; or to follow our conscience and break the law by withholding payment of a portion of our taxes. Following our consciences has lead us to court or the threat of prosecution.

We object to this financial conscription, and believe that its legal basis is questionable. We are seeking a change of current UK tax policy to allow any citizen who conscientiously objects to paying for preparations for war to divert that part of their taxes to a Peace Fund.

Where has the campaign got to now?
Peace Tax Seven's legal campaign has now run its course. For 9 years they sought permission to have their case heard. First of all through the British High Court, through the Appeal Court and finally the European Court of Human Rights. Although none of these allowed a full hearing, our legal arguments were heard at length in both the courts in Britain. The judges were sympathetic even though they thought they could not take the matter further. In their summing up, the Appeal Court judges said: "They (the ECHR) have taken what may be thought to be a rather strict or narrow line on the manifestation of religious and philosophical belief in a number of areas central to the daily life of the individual citizen in the modem state, such as employment, education and fiscal responsibilities. In some respects the reasoning may be legally and logically unsound."

Roy Prockter made a final attempt to get a personal hearing in the ECHR in 2012 on the grounds that the court had recently found, in a case brought by an Albanian, that conscientious objection to military service is a manifestation of our human rights. Roy's argument was that being made to pay for war is a form of military service. He was unable to move them, however. A full reproduction of our case papers and the judgements awarded can be found in the menu to the left.

Sadly two of our number have died but the remaining five continue to work with Conscience-Taxes for Peace not War and fund some of their work.
Who are Conscience?
Conscience-Taxes for Peace not War have been campaigning since the 1980's to win the right for conscientious objectors to divert their taxes to a designated peace fund. They have brought several private member's bills to parliament and in this centenary year are bringing another. It has been exactly 100 years since Britain became the first country to recognise conscientious objection to military service through the Military Service Act 1916. In the Act they included a clause to excuse those who felt morally compromised and offer them alternative nonviolent service. Since then, the right to conscientious objection to military service has spread to most countries around the world. In 2007 the UN declared, in a case against South Korea, that conscientious objection is a human right under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Find out more about their campaign here: www.conscienceonline.org.uk

Also, if you have an objection to paying for war, please join their register of COs. By gathering together written personal statements of conscience, Conscience is building a library of witness to show how many people are calling for peace not war. Since the start of this campaign they have received a great many statements and more are coming in every day. The number of voices are growing, please add yours.
Other Resources
CONTEMPT OF CONSCIENCE - 50 minute version

Joe Jenkins completed the full length version of his highly successful video short which was a mainstay of our campaign. The project was completed with the assistance of Clarity Productions. The film can be viewed on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2pVngostcs


Click here to read more news items and to get more background to where PT7 are now

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