Conscientious objection

Conscientious Objection as a Strategy

Conscientious objection is perhaps more often seen as a moral imperative than as a strategy. However, in countries with active conscription, there can be different ways of avoiding or delaying military service. Some people gain a medical discharge. Others flee, emigrate, choose professions that are exempt from call up, or bribe officials.

Cyprus: Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, December 2012

Human Rights Council, Twenty-second session, Agenda item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt: Addendum - Mission to Cyprus


Find the full report on the website of the Office of the High Commission of Human Rights here.

Greek conscientious objector on trial for 'desertion'

Related peace activists: 

Nikos KaranikasNikos Karanikas


Update 14 June:

  • Nikos' trial has been postponed to 2 July


Update 11 June:

  • Nikos Karanikas was arrested in Thessaloniki again. He was later released, but will still be tried at a later date.


Amnesty International Israel calls for the release of conscientious objector Natan Blanc

Related peace activists: 

17 January 2013

Re: Prisoner of conscience Nathan Blanc

Dear Sir,

I am writing you about conscientious objector Nathan Blanc, who was first arrested on November 19th, 2012, due to his refusal to serve in the IDF, and has since served three terms of imprisonment.

Colombia: legal progress as the reality of daily violence continues

Andreas and Hannah from the Right to Refuse to Kill programme visited Colombia in November 2012 to meet new antimilitarist groups, reconnect with existing contacts, and to plan new ways in which WRI might provide useful forms of international accompaniment. Many of the groups we met are members of ANOOC - Asamblea Nacional de Objetores y Objetoras de Conciencia – a nationwide assembly of groups that work on conscientious objection.

Overcoming trauma - dealing with the memories from prison

The invisible prison after prison

Reading a newspaper recently, I came across the words of some young girls who left home: 'If I want to survive I should not trust people'. These are the exact words I repeatedly heard while I was in prison.

I didn't write after I got released. I wanted to, but it felt too hard. Although I sensed something simmering inside me, I was not able to figure out what it was. I felt helpless; I couldn't be bothered to do anything. I didn't want to meet people. Those were the times when I was obsessed with the thought of staying alone. I felt like I had forgotten how to have equal relationships. I was overwhelmed by the fear of how I would be accepted by others. I didn't do anything that might have caused loss to me either. I've asked myself if I am using the fact that I was in prison as an excuse to cover up who I really am. What if prison is not different from society at all, and I was just bewildered to be thrown out to the wild reality I had not recognised before?

Grandrath v. Germany (2299/64)

Date published: 12 December 1966

Mr Grandrath, a minister of Jehovah's Witnesses, was a "total objector", seeking to be exempted both from military and from civilian service. He complained about his criminal conviction for refusing to perform substitute civilian service and alleged that he was discriminated against in comparision with Roman Catholic and Protestant ministers who were exempt from this service.

ECHR orders to compensate Jehovah's Witnesses who refused army service

MOSCOW, November 27 - RAPSI. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) granted several local Jehovah's Witnesses 124,000 Euros in damages from the Armenian government. The individuals filed a complaint in relation to the legality of being arrested for evading military or alternative service.

China doles out offers to attract youth to Army

Beijing: As it modernises its 2.3 million strong military with hefty defence spending, China is offering "well-educated" youth offers of preferential policies, ranging from promotions and access to advanced education to join its People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Young people with college degrees will receive preferential treatment during this year's recruitment period, which begins from tomorrow, a recruitment spokesman from the Ministry of National Defence said today.

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Turkey

1 November 2012


10. The Committee is concerned about the discrimination and alleged acts of violence against people on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation, and about the social stigmatization and social exclusion of LGBT persons in terms of their access to health services, education, or to their treatment in the context of the regulations concerning compulsory military service and while serving in the military. (arts. 2 and 26)

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