Estonia

 

  Conscription:

Yes

Selective conscription: approximately one third of males serve the military service.

  Conscientious objection:

1992

First recognised at a referendum in 1992 where the Constitution was approved. It is paragraph 124 that states the right to conscientious objection.

Service

 

Military:

8

8-12

Civilian:

12

 

Minimum age

 

Conscription:

18

 

Voluntary enlistment:

18

 

More 

https://ebco-beoc.org/estonia

Annually approximately 3200 young men perform the compulsory military service, which is approximately one third of the male age group. The number is planned to be increased to 4000 until 2026. [1]

Alternative service in Estonia is administered under the Ministry of Defence. Compulsory military service (conscription service) can last from 8 months up to 12 months, while alternative service is always 12 months. The place of employment of a person in alternative service may be: 1) an organisation which is engaged in resolving a rescue event; 2) at a social service provider; 3) an educational institution where classes for students with special educational needs have been created. [2] [3]

It is common to get exemption from military service because of health problems. According to a report by the Ministry of Defense on the fulfillment of Estonian Defense Forces duties and organization of service in 2019 40.2 % of call-up selectees met health requirements, 26.3 % did not meet health requirements, and 33.5 % temporarily did not meet requirements. [4]

Army evaders face fines repetitively which are up to 1200 euros. For example, in 2017 there were approximately 1000 men who paid the fine. The fine can be sent up to three times a year until the person is released from conscript service at the age of 28. [5]

In 2020 the Ministry of Defence sent a draft law to the interministerial coordination to establish a reserve alternative service, which means that, like conscripts, the state may also oblige alternative servicemen to attend further training or to serve in case of crises. Currently the reserve service is obligatory only for former military conscripts. The amendment is intended to come into force on January the 1st 2022. [6]

According to the reply of the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) to the Questionnaire about EBCO’s Annual Report 2020 (e-mails on 18/12/2020 and 07/01/2021):

The compulsory military service (conscription service) lasts from 8 months up to 12 months.

Persons can join the armed forces starting from the age of 18.

The military itself does not do recruitment in schools. Every male citizen is anyway obliged to go through the military service (or alternative service). In secondary level education curriculums is the option to pick a course of state security. But that course does not teach only about military, but also about the foreign policy, international relations, history etc.

The alternative service in Estonia is administered under the Ministry of Defence.

In 2020 there were 104 applications for alternative service and 74 actual entrances. In 2019 there were 107 applications for alternative service and 43 actual entrances. In 2018 there were 147 applications for alternative service and 83 actual entrances. In 2017 there were 112 applications for alternative service and 50 actual entrances. In 2016 there were 106 applications for alternative service and 98 actual entrances. The issue is that there are not enough slots in the social welfare units. The ones who cannot enter service will wait until slots will be open for them. Usually if you give an application for alternative service then you will be provided a post next year.

The fine for not entering the service is up to 1200 euros.

According to the reply of the Ministry of Defence of Estonia (Kaitseministeerium) to the Questionnaire about EBCO’s Annual Report 2020 (e-mail on 06/01/2021):

The right to conscientious objection was recognised at a referendum in 1992 where the Constitution was approved. It is a paragraph 124 that states the right to conscientious objection.

All the conscripts are officially informed about the human right to conscientious objection to military service. It is taught in schools.

No one is denied the right for alternative service. The person has to file a wish for alternative service.

The alternative service is purely civilian. It is carried out in hospitals, care homes, orphanages and other type of residential social institutions.

If a professional member of military has developed a conscientious objection then he/she can leave the service with a 60 days’ notice.

The minimum legal age for service is 18 both in peace-time and in war-time.

There are no plans to abolish conscription.