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Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Estonia



58. Slovakia (...) noted the (...) lack of clear grounds for accepting or rejecting an application for an alternative to military service. Slovakia made recommendations.


II. Conclusions and/or recommendations

77. The recommendations formulated during the interactive dialogue and listed below have been examined by and enjoy the support of Estonia.


77.77. Ensure that the right of conscientious objection to military service is upheld, and clarify the grounds for acceptance or rejection of such claims (Slovakia);


Estonia: Human Rights Committee of the United Nations demands clarifications on conscientious objection

During its 99th session, the Human Rights Committee examined the periodic report of Estonia. The issue of conscientious objection only came up briefly. The issue had been raised by War Resisters' International in a report to the Human Rights Committee. Regarding the issue of alternative service in lieu of military service and conscientious objection, the Committee asked if the delegation could inform it of the criteria used to determine approval for alternative service because the information provided in the report suggested that very few applicants were approved for alternative service.

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Estonia

Human Rights Committee
Ninety-ninth session
Geneva, 12-30 July 2010

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant
Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee


Distr.: General
28 July 2010

Original: English


Estonian mandatory conscription here to stay

Baltic Reports, 12 July 2010

TALLINN — While Sweden’s decision last week to join the list of those Baltic Sea nations to forgo military conscription shows less worry about regional security threats, Estonia’s conscription policy is unlikely to change.

Estonia to Hire 145 New Military in 2010

Estonian Free Press, 8 February 2010

Estonian Defence Minister Jaak Aaviksoo and Defence Forces commander-in-chief Ants Laaneots finally approved the recruitment plans for 2010 which establishes the hiring of 145 new professional military.

This amount shows an increase if compared to the 92 professional military hired in 2009.

Conscientious objection: Legal practices and frameworks among EU member states

In this presentation I will give an overview of the right to conscientious objection, its legal practices and frameworks in the 27 European Union member states. Before I do so, I want to step back a bit and have a brief look at the existing international standards about the right to conscientious objection, as these standards allow us to put the practices in the EU member states into a perspective.

Estonia: Service required to replace military service

European Committee of Social Rights: Conclusions 2008 – Volume 1

(Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy)



Service required to replace military service

European Committee of Social Rights: Conclusions 2008 (Estonia)

Service required to replace military service

The Committee notes from the report that there have been no changes in the situation it previously considered unsatisfactory, and that the Government has no intention of changing it. Military service lasts 8 months. However it is extended to 11 months for non-commissioned officers, specialists and those undertaking reserve officer training. Alternative military service lasts 16 months.



  • A genuinely civilian substitute service for conscientious objectors is not available.
  • Estonia does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.

Military recruitment


Conscription is enshrined in article 124 paragraph 1 of the constitution, according to which “Estonian citizens have a duty to participate in national defence on the bases of and pursuant to procedure provided by law1<

European Committee of Social Rights condemns long substitute services

The European Committee of Social Rights has repeatedly dealt with the issue of the length of substitute service - especially in the cases of Greece and Finland. In recent years, it has taken up the issue on its own in several conclusions on country reports. We publish the relevant parts below (thanks go to the European Buereau for Conscientious Objection):


"The Committee previously noted that legislation provided for alternative service to compulsory military service, but sought further clarification on the length of such alternative service.

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