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Militarising Human Rights

Militarism and human rights are not compatible

Despite the military’s attempts to present themselves as supporters of women's rights, LGBT rights and equality, such principles are contrary to the very nature of the armed forces. The armed forces involve rigid hierarchical structures in which their members are required to obey orders, even orders to kill, without reference to their own conscience. They deny the human rights not only of the people who they harm and kill but of their own members, who are not allowed to speak in public without permission, to join trades unions or to campaign for improved conditions.

The Wigston Report in 2019 found homophobic bullying to be rife in the army, navy and RAF. Last year it was revealed that one in ten of the young women aged 16 or 17 who joined the army in 2021 had reported being raped of sexually assaulted within a year.

In 2017 and 2018, the armed forces stepped up their effort to present themselves as supportive of women's rights and the rights of LGBT+ people. They produced an online advert called Can I be gay in the army? 

They are also attending LGBT Pride events to promote their image and in some cases to run recruitment stalls.

This has nothing to do with equality and human rights. It is due to the armed forces' ongoing recruitment crisis and an attempt to improve their image by "pinkwashing" it. 

In 2016, the Peace Pledge Union joined with LGBT+ campaigners and other peace groups to launch No Pride in War, a broad-based campaign calling on LGBT+ movements to reject the armed forces' attempts to co-opt them. If you're challenging militarism in LGBT+ or feminist movements, or would like support in doing so, please email us at