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RESOLUTION 337 (1967) on the right of conscientious objection

The Assembly,

Having regard to Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which binds member States to respect the individual's freedom of conscience and religion,

Declares :
A. Basic Principles

1. Persons liable to conscription for military service who, for reasons of conscience or profound conviction arising from religious, ethical, moral, humanitarian, philosophical or similar motives, refuse to perform armed service shall enjoy a personal right to be released from the obligation to perform such service.

2. This right shall be regarded as deriving logically from the fundamental rights of the individual in democratic Rule of Law States which are guaranteed in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
B. Procedure

1. Persons liable for military service should be informed, when notified of their call-up or prospective call-up, of the rights they are entitled to exercise.

2. Where the decision regarding the recognition of the right of conscientious objection is taken in the first instance by an administrative authority, the decision-taking body shall be entirely separate from the military authorities and its composition shall guarantee maximum independence and impartiality.

3. Where the decision regarding the recognition of the right of conscientious objection is taken in the first instance by an administrative authority, its decision shall be subject to control by at least one other administrative body, composed likewise in the manner prescribed above, and subsequently to the control of at least one independent judicial body.

4. The legislative authorities should investigate how the exercise of the right claimed can be made more effective by ensuring that objections and judicial appeals have the effect of suspending the armed service call-up order until the decision regarding the claim has been rendered.

5. Applicants should be granted a hearing and should also be entitled to be represented and to call relevant witnesses.
C. Alternative Service

1. The period to be served in alternative work shall be at least as long as the period of normal military service.

2. The social and financial equality of recognised conscientious objectors and ordinary conscripts shall be guaranteed.

3. The Governments concerned shall ensure that conscientious objectors are employed in social work or other work of national importance - having regard also to the manifold needs of the developing countries.

[1]. Assembly Debate on 26th January 1967 (22nd Sitting) (see Doc. 2170, report of the Legal Committee).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 26th January 1967 (22nd Sitting).

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