2011/11/23

Series of “No To Compulsory Recruitment” articles - Part 4: Conscientious Objection


Conscientious objection is a term in the international law, it was approved by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
The idea of conscientious objection is simply: the international law (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two international covenants) approved a group of basic human rights, most importantly: individual liberty, criminalizing slavery, freedom of choice, freedom of religion and belief.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission said that it is necessary from countries which have conscription to respect the basic rights of individuals and if any citizen sees that conscription is a kind of slavery for himself, restricting his personal freedom or contradicts with his religious belief, the country is obliged to provide for him the choice of conscientious objection.

The first official document from the United Nations Human Rights Commission talked about the conscientious objector was in the year 1995, which stated, “those who do the military service shouldn’t be excluded from the right to conscientious objection for military service”… After that, in 1998, the commission issued a complete document titled, “Conscientious Objection to Military Service”… Later on, many international charters were issued which ensure the right of citizens to conscientious objection.

These documents gained respect from the international community, and in many countries they even became non-negotiable… For example, the most important conditions to join the European Union: is that the country applying for accession to ensure conscientious objection to its citizens… In other words, there are countries in the European Union which still have conscription, but these countries have conscientious objection, which means that any citizen in them who doesn’t want to be recruited in the army, simply he doesn’t, without that harming him in anything in his civil or political life.

Interestingly, one of the biggest problems which prevented Turkey’s accession to the European Union was because Turkey has conscription and doesn’t recognize conscientious objection… The Turkish army is holding to its stance in refusing the right to conscientious objection, and this is disabling the membership of Turkey in the European Union.

How does the citizen demands his right to conscientious objection?
Simply, at the countries that have a legislation legalize conscientious objection, anyone who doesn’t want to recruited to the army may send an request (or a form) to the minister of defense or to the chief of the army, proving in it that he doesn’t want to be recruited to the army and that he wants to use his right of conscientious objection, and at that time, according to the law, the minister is obliged to respond to the request of that youth.

Some countries totally exempt that youth from the service in general, and other countries transfer that youth who used his right of conscientious objection to a a non-militarist civilian service… It means that they serve their period of time, but in a civil association, a retirement home, a governmental hospital or any public place servicing citizens.

Conscientious objection in Egypt
Unfortunately, Egypt didn’t sign on those charters, therefore Egypt says to the international community that it’s not even ready to comply with it.

We see that if Egypt didn’t abolish compulsory military service that it would at least sign those charters, giving the right to its youth to refuse the military service if he saw it contradiction with his freedom or his religious belief.

Enough of breaking the international law an the international human rights charters.

Related links:
* No to Compulsory Military Recruitment - an overview - (page)
* Series of "No To Compulsory Recruitment" articles - Part 1: Conscription System and it’s Legal Framework
* Series of "No To Compulsory Recruitment" articles - Part 2: Why are we Against Conscription?
* Series of “No To Compulsory Recruitment” articles - Part 3: The Unconstitutionality of Conscription
* Series of “No To Compulsory Recruitment” articles - Part 5: What's the Alternative? The Voluntary Recruiting System
* Series of “No To Compulsory Recruitment” articles - Part 6: Summary of our Demands
* Series of “No To Compulsory Recruitment” articles - Part 7: How Can You Help Us

Map for conscription in the world:-
Green: No armed forces
Blue: No enforced conscription
Orange: Plan to abolish conscription in the near future
Red: Conscription (notice that European countries which have conscription don't mistreat recruits and acknowledge conscientious objection to refuse recruitment)

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