Areas of Work

Conscientious Objection to Military Service

QUNO worked for decades to persuade the United Nations to recognise the right of conscientious objection to military service. QUNO also works with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the applicable standards in relation to asylum for conscientious objectors, draft evaders and deserters.

In May 2013, War Resisters International​, together with QUNO, the Centre for Civil and Political Rights, and Conscience and Peace Tax International, published the online interactive Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System for conscientious objectors to military service anywhere in the world who struggle for the recognition of their right to conscientious objection, or against discrimination for being a conscientious objector, and who want to use international or regional human rights systems. 

QUNO is undertaking a project which aims to analyse specific countries’ refugee status determination guidance. This project wishes to understand whether guidance on refugee status determination and conscientious objection to military service (thematic or on specific countries) are in line with human rights law and UNHCR guidance, and to understand how this is applied in different contexts. For this reason, QUNO requires access to guidance, if existing, provided by different countries. It would also still be useful to know if countries do not have this guidance in place as it can further our advocacy efforts on this issue.  

If you have any information that may be able to assist with this project, please contact Human Rights and Refugees Programme Assistant Najmah Ali on nali@quno.ch.

We have a small budget for translation so all languages very welcome. Deadline for information is Friday 18th December.

Recent Timeline Events

June 2017

QUNO to host side event on the Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Towards Implementation

QUNO will host a side event at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council on the issue of conscientious objection to military service. The event will be held on Monday 19 June 2017, 12:00-13:00 Room XXVII, at the Palais des Nations.

Following the presentation to the Human Rights Council of the Analytical report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights this side event will explore the report and look to what further steps the Council can take on the issue of conscientious objection to military service.

It will feature a panel of the following speakers:

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June 2017

Conscientious objection to military service: activities at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council

The 35th Session of the Human Rights Council saw important developments on the issue of conscientious objection to military service.

QUNO welcomes the presentation to the Council of the Analytical report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, noting in particular its focus on good practice towards recognition of this right and the serious gaps in implementation around the world. The report offers a series of concrete recommendations to States towards closing this implementation gap.

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January 2017

New UN report on conscientious objection to military service – call for inputs

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued a call for inputs on the issue of conscientious objection to military service (see attached file).

The compiled information will lead to a new UN report on the topic. The report will provide the most comprehensive outline of the latest developments, standards and remaining challenges relating to conscientious objection to military service. The previous report, from 2012 can be found here

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