Conscientious objection in Bulgaria - a survey

At a seminar in Plovdiv in Bulgaria, organised by Youth Society for Peace and Development on the Balkans (YSPDB) on behalf of EBCO, YSPDB presented a survey on the situation regarding conscientious objection in Bulgaria. The survey had been done in 2004, and the total sample was 1265 interviewees. Here we present some of the results:

1. Do you know about the possibility to substitute military service with an alternative service, according to Bulgarian legislation and European standards?

Answer % of respondents
No 44.7
Yes 36.2
Subtotal 80.9
No response 19.1
Total 100.0

2. Would you substitute your military service with an alternative service?

Answer % of respondents
No 31.1
Yes 30.4
Subtotal 61.4
No response 38.6
Total 100.0

Why would you not substitute your military service?

Answer % of respondents
Military service is the civil duty of every Bulgarian citizen 44.2
I will acquire special kills and knowledge during military service 20.5
I will grow up and become a man 18.8
My family and friends are against it 5.9
Other 16.5

How long should the alternative service be?

Answer % of respondents
As long as military service 21.6
Twice as long as military service 17.6
Other 15.4
Subtotal 54.6
No response 45.4
Total 100.0

The survey clearly showed a lack of knowledge about the situation regarding the right to conscientious objection in Bulgaria. This is emphasized also by the low number of objectors: According to official data, only 66 applications for conscientious objection had been made in 2003/2004, of which 60 had been accepted. 23 conscientious objectors were serving their alternative service at 11 service places.

Source: Conscientious objection as a tool for a European Consciousness. Youth Society for Peace and Development on the Balkans. Presentation at the seminar of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 17-19 June 2005.

See also: Refusing to bear arms country report on Bulgaria at http://wri-irg.org/co/rtba/bulgaria.htm.