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The right to refuse to perform military service (conscientious objection)
by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
8:26pm Mon Mar 10 '03
A growing number of States have in their laws exempted from compulsory military service citizens who genuinely hold religious or other beliefs that forbid the performance of military service and replaced it with alternative national service.
The Committee believes that such a right can be derived from article 18, inasmuch as the obligation to use lethal force may seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one's religion or belief.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966
entry into force 23 March 1976.
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
General comment on its implementation:
Many individuals have claimed the right to refuse to perform military service (conscientious objection) on the basis that such right derives from their freedoms under article 18. In response to such claims, a growing number of States have in their laws exempted from compulsory military service citizens who genuinely hold religious or other beliefs that forbid the performance of military service and replaced it with alternative national service. The Covenant does not explicitly refer to a right to conscientious objection, but the Committee believes that such a right can be derived from article 18, inasmuch as the obligation to use lethal force may seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one's religion or belief. When this right is recognized by law or practice, there shall be no differentiation among conscientious objectors on the basis of the nature of their particular beliefs; likewise, there shall be no discrimination against conscientious objectors because they have failed to perform military service. The Committee invites States parties to report on the conditions under which persons can be exempted from military service on the basis of their rights under article 18 and on the nature and length of alternative national service.
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8:31pm Mon Mar 10 '03
9:17am Tue Mar 11 '03
This is true, but the states still have a way to wok around the Convenant. If it is deemed vital to the existence of the state, the Government can order people into the service.
- Myself, a conscientious objector, do not like this fact and believe there is a need of change. Ones rights as a human being is not dependent upon one perceived situation.
Most countries in the civilized world do however have services that work as alternatives to the military service. This kind of work must be devoted to anti-war, pro human- rights or something that will benefit the social sfere. Israel does not have this alternative, nor the right to refuse on idelogical grounds...only religious and is not in compliance with its own commitments.
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Vital to expansion, not to existence
by John Veldhuis
11:37am Tue Mar 11 '03
"If it is deemed vital to the existence of the state, the Government can order people into the service."
In Israel people are ordered into the service, not because it is vital to the existence of the state, but because it is vital to the illegal expansion of the state.
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