The Conscientious Objection and Peace Service started in the 1970s to support the fight to have conscientious objection recognised as a subjective right of the individual.
Today the service’s main priorities are promoting, planning and running national civilian service, in Italy and overseas, within the system laid down by Italian law 64 of 2001, under which the Pope John XXIII Community is accredited as class one in the Italian register of national civilian service entities.
From 1999 the service has been working on the project White Helmets – Civil Peace Corps.
The service takes practical action with its courses of education in peace and non-violence, addressed particularly at schools, focusing on life-styles fair trade and information as an instrument of peace and a tool in the struggle against oppression, using the website www.antennedipace.org that promotes civilian peace corps and disarmament.
The Pope John XXIII Community Conscientious Objection and Peace Service works on numerous initiatives and services:
- National civilian service in Italy and overseas
- Regional civilian service in Emilia Romagna
- European Voluntary Service and the Erasmus+ programme
- Providing support and services to civilian service entities
- Conscientious objection
- Information on alternatives and non-violence
- Education for peace
- Training in conflict management and non-violence
- Campaigns, networking and coordination action on themes associated with peace and disarmament.
The Conscientious Objection and Peace Service works in partnership with institutions and organisations in civil society, both in Italy and overseas:
- For running the Italian National Civilian Service, it works with the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, through the Departments of Youth and Civilian Service.
- For the Erasmus+ programme and European Voluntary Service, it works with the Italian national agency for youth.
- It promotes the Caschi Bianchi, (White Helmets) network together with the Christian organisations Focsiv and Caritas italiana and with the autonomous group Gavci.
- It participates in TESC (Ecclesiastical work group for civilian service entities) .
- It participated in CNESC (the Italian national conference of civilian service entities) .
- It participates in CSEV (Veneto regional civilian service and volunteering coordination)
- It participates in TESC (Piedmont regional work group for civilian service entities)
- It participates in CRESCER (Emilia-Romagna regional conference of civilian service entities)
- It belongs to CO.PR.E.S.C. (provincial coordinating committee for civilian service entities) in the provinces of Rimini, Forlì-Cesena, Ravenna, Bologna and Ferrara)
- It participates in Rete Disarmo (the disarmament network)
It is currently promoting
- The campaign Un’altra Difesa è possibile! (A different defence is possible), the campaign for unarmed and non-violent civil defence
Figures for the Conscientious Objection and Peace Service
(source APG23 2013 Annual Report)
- Conference "La Miglior difesa è la Pace!" (Peace is the best defence) 500 participants
- Italian National Civilian Service: 134 young people (87 in Italy and 47 overseas) following the White Helmets model
- Welcoming asylum seekers: providing a welcome and courses in integration for 40 people
- European Voluntary Service: 10 young people sent to Greece, Israel-Palestine and 2 young people from Greece and Spain hosted
- School campaigns: 6 conflict prevention and management workshops in primary schools in the province of Rimini