Turkey falling short on conscientious objection says EU Commissioner

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The Turkish government has been criticised by an EU Commissioner for omitting conscientious objection reform from its package of reforms designed to align Turkish legislation with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

European Commissioner Stefan Füle said on April 12th, “While I understand the focus of the Fourth Judicial Reform package is on compliance with European Court of Human Rights rulings, I note with regret the omission of conscientious objection in the package”.

The initial version of the new judicial package included substitute service for citizens in lieu of military service. However, this provision was removed after parliamentary discussions.

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly criticised Turkey for violations of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion), and Article 3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman treatment) in its treatment of conscientious objectors, including in (Demirtaş v. Turkey [17 January 2012], Erçep v. Turkey [22 November 2011], Savda v. Turkey [12 June 2012], and Tarhan v. Turkey [17 July 2012]).

Sources: Hürriyet,Turkey's judicial reform falls short on conscientious objection: EU commissioner, 12 April 2013; CO-Update, Turkey: European Court of Human Rights again says Turkey violated human rights of conscientious objector, August 2012.

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