September 21st - International Day of Peace - Peace cannot be promoted without equally promoting the right to conscientious objection to military service.

On the occasion of the International Day of Peace 2021 on September 21st, the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) emphasizes that conscientious objection to military service is as well a basic human right as a tangible contribution to peace; it is a concrete act of rejecting war and violence, and promoting peace and universal human values.

“Peace cannot be promoted without equally promoting the right to conscientious objection to military service”, EBCO President Alexia Tsouni stated today.

In this direction EBCO wishes to highlight its recommendations to all European States:

  1. if they have not already done so, to abolish all compulsory military service, and meanwhile refrain from prosecuting or otherwise harassing conscientious objectors, with no further action required from such persons; or - secondly – providing a non-punitive and non-discriminatory alternative service of purely civilian nature.
  2. to ensure that it is possible for all conscientious objectors to avoid enlistment in the armed forces and for all serving members of the armed forces or reservists to obtain release without penalties should they develop conscientious objections.
  3. to immediately cease any recruitment into the armed forces on of persons aged under 18.
  4. to accept applications for asylum from all persons seeking to escape military service in any country where there is no adequate provision for conscientious objectors.
  5. to decrease military expenditure and increase social spending.
  6. to introduce peace education in all parts of the education system.

NOTE: You can find more information in EBCO’s Annual Report “Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2020” covering all the member states of Council of Europe, available at


ENGLISH: Alexia Tsouni, EBCO President (+30 6974461210;

FRENCH, DUTCH, ITALIAN, ENGLISH: Sam Biesemans, EBCO Vice-President (+32 477268893;