D. Gwartney and Robert A. Lawson : ECONOMIC FREEDOM OF THE WORLD,
Table III-C: The Use of Conscription to Obtain Military Personnel, 1974-1995.
of the right of conscientious objection to military service in Council of
Europe member states
(Report on CO in Europe) Excerpts.
WRI Survey /Refusing to Bear Arms/ Registration is required
Simon, J.: Transforming the Armed Forces of Central and East Europe (Strategic Forum, 2000. June, No 172)
Military manpower - fit for military service
In each year, male citizens reaching 18 are to be drafted for military service of 2 years. If not drafted immediately, they remain liable to draft until 22 years old. Female citizens of the same age range may also be drafted based on military demands. Full-time students are eligible for deferments. The conscription is selective and who is actually drafted is not known exactly. As Falun Gong is strictly banned, its members are barred from serving the military.
For Chinese Special Administrative Regions (SARs) - Hong Kong and Macao - there is no conscription.
The compulsory National Service is actually suspended (law October 97) for anyone born after December 31st, 1978. The actual Army obligations of any person (boy & girls) is to get registered, and to spend a day to be "selected". People not doing so can't
take a national exam (including driving license) until 25 but this
"punishment" is cancelled as soon as they submit. The possibility of being a CO is suspended as well ! But for the one remaining (older), it is possible to avoid any National Service being CO.
Conscription was abolished 2001.06.27. /Wordnews, BBC/
The situation in November 2001
Civil service /only for health reason/ 28 months
Conscription 9 months service, 2002: 6 months
1999 46000 males are processed and evaluated for duty, of those 19000
are assigned to positions within the defence forces and 16000 start their
training (because some had been assigned to units which were disbanded).
2000 Government suggest the introduction of female conscription too, and it seems possible it'll get introduced, but in July it turns out the
proposal was rather for discussion only.
Source: Urban: History of conscription in Sweden
Taiwan Nation without Conscription! (Campaign against conscription by the Republic of China)
Times, 2000.04.26. Conscription is harming Taiwan
Antigua and Barbuda
Papua New Guinea
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland
United States of America
Central African Republic
Federal Republic of
(a) On a legal basis
(b) On an ad hoc basis
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republic of Korea
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Lao People's Democratic
Libyan Arab Jamahirya
Republic of Korea
Romania (a draft law on
alternative service has been
Report on CO in Europe.
Exercise of the right
of conscientious objection to military service in Council of Europe member
Doc. 8809 13 July 2000 Report
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Rapporteur: Mr Dick Marty, Switzerland, Liberal, Democratic and Reformers' Group
... For all these reasons, the Assembly recommends that the right to conscientious
objection to military service be incorporated into the European Convention on Human Rights,
on the eve of the 50th anniversary of its signature, and that states take the necessary steps
to ensure respect for this right.
I. Draft recommendation
1. The Assembly recalls its Resolution 337 (1967) and its
Recommendation 816 (1977)
on the right of conscientious objection and the right of conscientious objection to military
service respectively, and also Recommendation No. R (87) 8 of the Committee of Ministers.
It notes that the exercise of the right of conscientious objection to military service has been
an on-going concern of the Council of Europe for over thirty years.
2. The right of conscientious objection is a fundamental
aspect of the right to freedom
of thought, conscience and religion enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the European Convention on Human Rights.
5. The Assembly accordingly recommends that the Committee
of Ministers invite those
member states which have not yet done so to introduce into their legislation:
i. the right to be registered as a conscientious objector
at any time before,
during or after conscription, or performance of military service;
ii. the right for permanent members of the armed forces
to apply for the
granting of conscientious objector status;
iii. the right for all conscripts to receive information
on conscientious objector
status and the means of obtaining it;
iv. genuine alternative service, which should be neither
deterrent nor punitive in
6. The Assembly also recommends that the Committee of Ministers
right of conscientious objection to military service into the European Convention on Human
Rights by means of a protocol amending Articles 4.3.b and 9.
II. Explanatory memorandum by Mr Marty, Rapporteur
B. General points concerning the right of conscientious objection to military
service in Europe
4. The debate on the right of conscientious objection may
seem superfluous at a time
when a number of European countries are abolishing national service in favour of fully
professional armies. Nevertheless, compulsory military service (conscription) still exists in
most Council of Europe member states. It has either been abolished or has never existed in
Andorra, Belgium, Ireland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, the
United Kingdom and San Marino. Spain will be putting an end to conscription on 31
December 2002 at the latest; France will follow suit on 1 January 2003. The Netherlands still
has a law on conscription, but this contains no provisions on the performance of military
service. Recruits are no longer called for medical examination, and the last conscripts were
called up in February 1996, to do six months' service. In Italy, the government has introduced
a bill for gradual abolition of compulsory military service and for the establishment of a
professional army. Eastern Europe is not exempt from the trend, which may lead to
increased reliance on regular servicemen and the end of compulsory military service in the
Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine.
... In several Eastern European countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova,
Ukraine), conscripts frequently avoid doing military service. In these countries between 10
and 20% of conscripts on average are actually enlisted for military service. Since all
defaulters cannot be prosecuted, some states make an example of only a few by bringing
them to court, or declare amnesties (Russia and Ukraine).
b. Absolute objectors and prison sentences
27. "Absolute objectors", i.e. those who refuse to perform
both military service and any
type of alternative service, pose a special problem. Failure to report for duty when first called
up is usually punishable as such, or as desertion, under the military offences code or the
criminal code. European countries� laws on penalties which may be imposed on recognised
conscientious objectors who refuse to perform alternative service differ widely. Many Eastern
European countries, which have no specific criminal laws on such cases, simply apply the law
on failure to do military service to conscientious objectors (Russia and Ukraine). Most,
however, have inserted specific provisions in their criminal legislation in this field (Sweden).
The penalty that may be imposed is either the same as that imposed for failure to report for
duty or, sometimes, less harsh (Finland). Germany has found a general solution to the
problem of absolute objection by exempting recognised objectors from compulsory civilian
service if they can show that they are, or will be, employed for a definite time by a charitable
association working in the health sector.
28. Rejection of all compulsory service, civilian or military,
cannot be accepted in legal
systems which provide for compulsory service, since this would be tantamount to privileging
certain groups (particularly Jehovah's Witnesses), and would flagrantly violate the principle of
the equality of citizens before the law. Swiss law stipulates that anyone who refuses to
perform both military and civilian service must do some form of compulsory work. If a country
insists on imposing prison sentences, the sentence must in all cases be short and entail no
unduly harsh conditions of detention.