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LITHUANIA & LATVIA: reacting to growing tension with Russia

Lithuania's plans to extend military conscription after 2020. Conscription was reintroduced earlier this year, planned to be only for five years. But due to the “threats from the east” they have already decided to prolong it at least by another year.

A new survey, shows that more than 50% of the population backs the re-introduction of conscription in the country. The survey also shows that the majority of those that oppose conscription belong to the 15-24 age group, the age group closest to conscription age, which is 19-26.

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.



  • Latvia does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.

Military recruitment


On 7 June, 2005, the Latvian government approved the “National Armed Forces Medium-Term Development Plan” for the period 2005-2008, which envisaged the phasing out of conscription by the end of 20061.

Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Latvia

06 November 2003


15. The Committee notes with satisfaction that in 2002, a new law on alternative service entered into force, which provides for the right to conscientious objection. However, the Committee remains concerned that, pending a change in the conscription law, the duration of alternative service is up to twice that of military service and appears to be discriminatory (Article 18).

The State party should ensure that the alternative service is not of a discriminatory duration.


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