Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights condemns imprisonment of conscientious objectors

On 2 February 2012, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, demanded that the right to conscientious objection to military service should be guaranteed in all parts of Europe. In his blog post, he stated:

"People should not be imprisoned when their religious or other convictions prevent them from doing military service. Instead they should be offered a genuinely civilian alternative. This is now the established European standard, respected in most countries – but there are some unfortunate exceptions."

Annual Activity Report 2011 by Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights

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1.2 Visits.

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Visit to Armenia.

(…) Regarding the right to conscientious objection, the Commissioner emphasised the urgent need to develop a genuinely civilian service option in Armenia, and recom­mended the release of all conscientious objectors imprisoned because of non-performance of military service.

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CommDH(2012)1
Source: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1895365

2nd Quarterly Activity Report 2011 by Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights (1 April to 30 June 2011)

3. Reports and continuous dialogue.

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Report on Armenia.

(…) Regarding the right to conscientious objection, the Commissioner found that there was an urgent need to develop a genuinely civilian service option in Armenia and that all conscientious objectors who are in prison because of non-performance of military service should be released.

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CommDH(2011)28

Source: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1825409&Site=CommDH

Report by Thomas Hammarberg Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe following his visit to Armenia from 18 to 21 January 2011

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The issue of imprisoned conscientious objectors – currently, all of whom are members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community - has been on the table for many years. Conscientious objectors are not willing to perform an alternative service option which is under the supervision of the military. There is still no alternative to military service available in Armenia which can be qualified as genuinely civilian in nature. The Commissioner strongly believes that conscien­tious objectors should not be imprisoned and urges the authorities to put in place an alternative civilian service.

Follow-up report on Cyprus (2003-2005). Assessment of the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

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75. Compulsory military service for Cypriot men lasts 25 months. A new bill on conscientious objection was tabled in Parliament by the Government on 1 July 2005. The Bill foresees the reduction in the length of service for non-armed service in uniform within army precincts from 34 months to 33 months. For non-armed service without a uniform and outside army precincts, the Bill foresees a reduction from 42 to 38 months.

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CommDH(2006)12

Source: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=984105&Site=COE#P290_45859

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