Human Rights Committee decides on more than 100 cases of conscientious objectors from South Korea

During its 101st session, the Human Rights Committee decided on more than 100 individual complaints of conscientious objectors from South Korea, who had all been sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.

The Committee reiterates its reasoning in Yeo-Bum Yoon and Mr. Myung-Jin Choi vs. Republik of Korea (23 January 2007) and Eu-min Jung et al vs. Republic of Korea (14 April 2010), but takes an even stronger view regarding the recognition of the right to conscientious objection.

In the new decision, the Committee held that conscientious objection to military service “inheres in the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It entitles any individual to an exemption from compulsory military service if this cannot be reconciled with that individual's religion or beliefs. The right must not be impaired by coercion.

And: "Repression of the refusal to be drafted for compulsory military service, exercised against persons whose conscience or religion prohibit the use of arms, is incompatible with article 18, paragraph 1 of the Covenant."

Source: Min-Kyu Jeong et al v Republic of Korea (CCPR/C/101/D/1642-1741/2007 of 5 April 2011)

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