Conscientious Objection to Military Service

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This publication addresses sensitive topics such as selective conscientious objection to particular wars, conscientious objection for those who have volunteered to serve in the armed forces and conscientious objection for those in the reserves. For persons who are or may be conscripted into the armed forces, this book specifies issues relating to their right to know their rights in due time and the applicable procedures, decision-making processes for dealing with applications, and the requirements of a fair and impartial procedure. Concerning alternative service to military service for conscientious objectors, this book addresses the difference in treatment between non-combatant alternative service and civilian alternative service, as well as the length and conditions of alternative service and under what circumstances they may be different from the length and conditions of military service.



Protection of conscientious objectors in international refugee law

Conscientious objectors, including draft evaders or deserters, may flee their country as a direct result of, or in anticipation of, being called up (or recalled in the case of reservists) for military service (whether personally or through a general announcement or notice to a particular group). Those already abroad may also refuse to return to their country. Those already in the armed forces may flee the country following desertion or be absent without leave, whether they were originally conscripted or enlisted voluntarily. The fact that they are draft evaders or deserters does not preclude the possibility of also being refugees.


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