While recognition of conscientious objection in national law is a huge step towards ending violations of the rights of those who refuse to fight, human rights based processes need to be in place to ensure that the right can be exercised in practice. On this basis the Human Rights Council mandated a report from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, delivered in June 2019, that examines barriers to the right to conscientious objection and provides a checklist of recommendations for States when implementing policy. This document is QUNO's contribution to the report.
Conscientious Objection to Military Service
This document, lays out the ways in which conscientious objection has been recognized and is protected under human rights treaties and mechanisms, taking into account developments in international standards that have occurred since 2011.
A German translation of a 2014 version of the document featured in Connection eV (beginning on page 23) is also available below.
QUNO has submitted an Amicus Curiae opinion on conscientious objection to military service to the Constitutional Court of Korea jointly with Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and War Resisters’ International. This opinion is submitted in relation to the cases bought by six conscientious objectors against the government of the Republic of Korea on the basis of the violation of their right to conscientious objection to military service. The opinion outlines to the Constitution Court the position of conscientious objectors in international law, focusing on recent developments in the UN Human Rights Committee. It is believed that over 10,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses have been imprisoned as a result of their conscientious objection to military service since the year 2000, which gives an indication of the severity of the problem.
In this publication, QUNO questions the presence and influence of the military in primary and secondary education from a peace and human rights perspective. Concerned at the military’s involvement in schools and the militarization of education, QUNO draws attention to relevant international human rights standards that promote education for peace.
Conscientious objectors to military service face a number of serious and negative implications for their refusal to perform military service, when the right of conscientious objection is not recognised in their country. These implications can include prosecution and imprisonment, sometimes repeatedly, as well as fines. However, there are a number of other less-well known, but serious implications, which make it difficult for conscientious objectors to secure employment, pursue an education, move freely, exercise their right to vote and otherwise participate fully in public and political life.
In this written statement by Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quakers draw attention to the serious and negative implications for those who object to military service when there is no national recognition and implementation of the right to conscientious objection. These implications include: punishment and discriminatory treatment; criminal prosecution; and lack of necessary identity documentation.
In this statement, delivered to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers) highlights the serious and negative implications for conscientious objectors, when the right of conscientious objection is not fully recognised and implemented in practice, and makes recommendations to address the situation and ensure that they can enjoy fully their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
To view a video recording of the oral statement by QUNO's Emily Graham, click here. QUNO's statement begins at 01:46:50 and can be accessed by selecting the Chapter 47 link in the index listed on the right of the website.
Rachel Brett, QUNO's representative for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered training to conscientious objectors at the Foro Internacional Por la Objeción de Conciencia al Servicio Militar Obligatorio in Bogotá, Colombia. This presentation focused on the international standards on the right to conscientious objection to military service and alternative service applicable to Colombia.
Geneva's newsletter from July to October 2013. Features stories:
- Children of parents sentenced to death or executed
- New framework for trade and investment in agriculture
- Conscientious objection to military service
- New energy on nuclear disarmament
- Highlights from QUNO New York
In this written statement by Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quakers welcome the growing recognition of the right to conscientious objection to military service, highlight a number of good practices, and again call on states to “fully implement the right of conscientious objection to military service in law and practice”.
A user-friendly Guide to using Human Rights System for Conscientious Objectors. Together with the Centre for Civil and Political Rights, War Resisters International and Conscience and Peace Tax International, QUNO has made this guide available on-line and on paper. The Guide, in its own words, “is mainly intended as a web publication […], which allows users a quick overview of relevant human rights mechanisms applicable to their situation. While it can be read as a book, its main use is as an interactive guide. It is aimed at 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 in their struggle. It can also be used by local or national organizations of conscientious objectors to military service, or by human rights NGOs supporting conscientious objectors to help them to access international or regional human rights systems.”
In this Youtube video uploaded by the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR Centre), Rachel Brett, QUNO's representative for Human Rights and Refugees, compares the jurisprudence of the UN Human Rights Committee with the European Court for Human Rights regarding the right to conscientious objection.
Geneva's newsletter from May to August 2012. Featured stories:
- Water, conflict and cooperation
- Conscientious objection to military service
- Highlights from QUNO New York
- News in brief
- Children of parents sentenced to death: New work at QUNO Geneva
In this written statement by Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quakers stress that conscientious objection to military service is protected under several international human rights mechanisms, and call on states to “fully implement the right of conscientious objection to military service in law and practice.”
QUNO was involved in the preparation of this Guide, which was published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The Guide brings together international standards, jurisprudence and national practice relating to conscientious objection. It is aimed at State officials responsible for drafting and implementing laws, individuals who may be unsure of their rights should they be called to perform military service, and civil society actors seeking to defend the rights of conscientious objectors. It includes a section on the protection of conscientious objectors under international refugee law.
Conscientious objection to military service is now clearly protected as a human right under international law, even if the term "conscientious objection" does not appear in the international human rights treaties per se.
This paper presents the analysis and findings of the UN Human Rights Committee, the European Court of Human Rights as well as procedures of the Human Rights Council (Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief) that show how conscientious objection to military service is protected under international human rights law, particularly under the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
This document lays out the ways in which conscientious objection has been recognized and is protected under human rights treaties and mechanisms. In this way, it responds to those who claim that, as conscientious objection to military service is not explicitly recognized by international human rights treaties, it is not protected by them.
QUNO Geneva newsletter for February 2011 to June 2011. Featured stories
- QUNO says "Thank You" to David Atwood
- Message from Jonathan Woolley, new QUNO Geneva Director
- Small Arms & Light Weapons
- QUNO Summer School 2011
- Quakers at the UN Crime Commission
- Conscientious Objection to Military Service
- Decade to Overcome Violence
- Staff Update
- Recent Publication
This statement, delivered at the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, concerns certain military recruitment processes in Colombia, which raise questions about the guarantee of an individual’s right to conscientious objection - a right recognized under the Constitution of Colombia
Countries / Regions:
QUNO Geneva's newsletter for July to October 2010. Featured stories:
- The Dangerous Lure of "Climate Change and ..."
- BMS 4: Modest progress on Small Arms
- Children of Prisoners on the Agenda at the UN
- Stalemated Conference on Disarmament Under Scrutiny
- Conscientious Objection: Amicus brief
- Update from QUNO New York: The Trouble with Elections
- Staff Changes
- 1 of 2
- next ›