Greece 26.3.2021: Joint Submission by EBCO and the Association of Greek Conscientious Objection to the UN Universal Periodic Review

The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection and the Association of Greek Conscientious Objection submitted yesterday (25/03/2021) a joint contribution to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) documentation on Greece in the 3rd UPR cycle: contributions and participation of "other stakeholders" (including civil society and national human rights institutions).

“Greece continues to violate the human right to conscientious objection to military service. There was another joint submission by EBCO and AGCO in 2015 in the context of the 2nd UPR cycle. Unfortunately Greece rejected[1] all the recommendations[2] concerning conscientious objectors then. We now call again on the Greek government to finally comply with the European and international standards and recommendations”, EBCO’s President Alexia Tsouni stated today.

EBCO and AGCO call for:

  • immediate amendments to the Greek law and practice in order to refrain from prosecuting or otherwise harassing conscientious objectors, with no further action required from such persons, and suspend all prosecutions (including the repeated prosecutions in violation of the “ne bis in idem” principle);
  • providing a civilian service in line with the European and international standards and recommendations. Such standards require, among other things, that [3]:
  1. all individuals who object to compulsory military service on grounds of conscience, without discrimination on different grounds, have the opportunity to perform a non-punitive, non-discriminatory, genuinely civilian service of equal length to the one of the military service that is compatible with the reasons for objection;
  2. applicants are granted conscientious objector status without inquiry, as a best practice, and if there is a procedure of examination, this should be under the full control of civilian authorities, i.e. outside the Ministry of Defence and with no military participation in the body examining the applications;
  3. all individuals, including serving members of the armed forces, be allowed to register as conscientious objectors at any time before, during or after their conscription or performance of military service, without any restriction before or revocation after they acquire the status of conscientious objector;
  4. information on the right to conscientious objection and the means of obtaining conscientious objection status be readily available to all those liable to be conscripted to the armed forces, including in the registration form and the call-up papers.


You can find the UPR Joint Submission on Greece by EBCO and AGCO at

More information in EBCO’s Annual Report on Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2020 at

For more information and interviews please contact Alexia Tsouni, EBCO President (+30 6974461210;


[1] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Greece, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, (A/HRC/33/7/Add.1), 2 September 2016, p. 3.

[2] UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Greece, (A/HRC/33/7), 8 July 2016, recommendation 136.15 (Uruguay), 136.16 (Slovenia).

[3] Approaches and challenges with regard to application procedures for obtaining the status of conscientious objector to military service in accordance with human rights standards - Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,