EBCO tourEBCO in awareness raising tour in Europe: The right to conscientious objection to military service is a human right too!

  • Brussels, 8 December 2012

    With the opportunity of the Human Rights Day on 10 December 2012, the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection reminds that the right to conscientious objection to military service is a human right too, and organises an awareness raising tour in Europe, in four countries where some conscientious objectors are still being sentenced to imprisonment: Armenia (Yerevan, 8 Dec 2012), Finland (Helsinki, 14 Dec 2012), Greece (Larisa, 18 Dec 2012) and Turkey (Ankara, 28 Dec 2012).

    Ten years ago, the Directorate General of Human Rights of the Council of Europe underlined that: «For democratic states that respect rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the right to conscientious objection cannot be seen as a minor issue divorced from the mainstream of protection and promotion, at international level, of human rights.» (Booklet entitled Conscientious objection to compulsory military service, June 2002).

    Last year, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that conscientious objection to military service, as a manifestation of deeply held religious or other beliefs, is protected under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion), whether or not there are appropriate provisions in national law. (Case of Bayatyan v Armenia, 7 July 2011).

    Earlier this year, Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, the former Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights stated that: «The right to conscientious objection to military service should be guaranteed in all parts of Europe» and noted that «People should not be imprisoned when their religious or other convictions prevent them from doing military service. Instead they should be offered a genuinely civilian alternative. This is now the established European standard, respected in most countries – but there are some unfortunate exceptions». (Human rights comment, 2 February 2012).

    EBCO press contact:
    Alexia Tsouni, EBCO’s Coordinator, +32 485 313 436, ebco@ebco-beoc.org

  • 8 December 2012: Yerevan, Armenia
  • 14 December 2012: Helsinki, Finland
  • 18 December 2012: Larisa, Greece
  • 28 December: Ankara Turkey

yiaThis action has been funded also with the support from the European Union, Programme Youth in Action. It reflects the views only of EBCO and the participants; the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information provided..