Conscientious objection in Bulgaria - a survey

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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
No44.7
Yes 36.2
Subtotal80.9
No response19.1
Total100.0



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




















Answer% of respondents
No31.1
Yes30.4
Subtotal61.4
No response38.6
Total100.0



Why would you not substitute your military service?





















Answer % of respondents
Military service is the civil duty of every Bulgarian citizen44.2
I will acquire special kills and knowledge during military service20.5
I will grow up and become a man18.8
My family and friends are against it5.9
Other 16.5



How long should the alternative service be?























Answer% of respondents
As long as military service21.6
Twice as long as military service17.6
Other15.4
Subtotal54.6
No response45.4
Total100.0

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.

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