CONCODOC updated: new reports on Austria, Kyrgyzstan and Singapore

We update our World survey of conscription and conscientious objection to military service on a rolling basis.

Updated reports on conscription and conscientious objection to military service are now available on Austria, Kyrgyzstan and Singapore.

Find all the available reports here.

Submission on Austria: Universal Periodic Review, prepared September 2015

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Information submitted by the International Fellowship of Reconcilitation and Conscience and Peace Tax International


Submission to the 115th Session of the Human Rights Committee


(Military service, conscientious objection and related issues)

Updated: September 2015. Contact:


International Fellowship of Reconciliation

Main Representative to the UN, Geneva

Tel: (41) 77 462 9825

SUMMARY: Conscientious objection to military service has been recognised in law for as long as obligatory military service has existed in the modern Austrian state. There are however a number of serious concerns with the details of the current legislative provisions.

New concluding observations from the UN: Austria and South Korea

The United Nations' Human Rights' Committee have published new concluding observations following the examination of Austria and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as part of the Universal Periodic Review.

The Committee called upon the state of Austria to 'ensure that the length of service alternative to military service required for conscientious objectors is not punitive in nature.'

It demanded that the Republic of Korea:

'(a) Immediately release all conscientious objectors condemned to a prison sentence for exercising their right to be exempted from military service;

(b) Ensure that the criminal records of conscientious objectors are expunged, that they are provided with adequate compensation and that their information is not publicly disclosed; and

(c) Ensure the legal recognition of conscientious objection to military service, and provide conscientious objectors with the possibility to perform an alternative service of civilian nature.

Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Austria*

* Adopted by the Committee at its 115th session (19 October–6 November 2015).

Freedom of conscience and religious belief

33. The Committee notes that the length of the civilian alternative service to military service for conscientious objectors is longer than military service and may be punitively long if not based on reasonable and objective grounds (arts. 18 and 26).

32. The State party is encouraged to ensure that the length of service alternative to military service required for conscientious objectors is not punitive in nature.

Austria votes to keep conscription

In January, in a referendum on compulsory military service, nearly 60 percent of Austrians voted to maintain the status quo and maintain conscription, where men have to serve in the army for six months or in the civilian service for nine months when they reach the age of 18. Turnout in the referendum was slightly more than 50%.

Austria: Referendum on conscription in January 2013

On 20 January 2013, the citizens of Austria will be able to decide on the future of conscription in the country in a referendum. At present, it seems impossible to predict the outcome of the referendum - opinion polls differ, and are generally close, with 51:49 results not uncommon - in favour or against conscription.

Austrians to vote on abolishing military service

VIENNA, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Austrians will vote in January on whether they want to abolish military service, an issue which has divided the ruling coalition, officials said on Tuesday.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPO) and the centre-right People's Party (OVP) have argued for two years over the future of the neutral country's military, with the SPO lobbying for a professional army and the OVP insisting on keeping the draft.

The parties have now agreed to put the issue to voters in a referendum, the outcome of which is hard to predict.

Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Austria. Addendum: Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review



93.47 Austria does not accept the recommendation.
The option of performing the military service starting at the age of 17 is based solely on the voluntary enlistment of the person concerned and requires the consent of his legal guardian. Neither the direct participation in combat nor the voluntary enlistment for military service in international operations is admissible. Under these provisions, full respect of the entire Convention on the Rights of the Child including its Optional Protocol is guaranteed.


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



“93.The following recommendations will be examined by Austria which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the seventeenth session of the Human Rights Council in June 2011:


93.47. Raise the age for all enrolments into armed forces to the age of at least 18 years in line with the CRC recommendation (Ghana, Slovakia);”



Austria: SPÖ makes shock U-turn on conscription

Austrian Independent, 5 October 2010

Leading Social Democrats (SPÖ) have spoken out in favour of a referendum about conscription in what is regarded as a sensational U-turn on the issue.

SPÖ Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl suggested yesterday (Mon) people should decide on whether young Austrians should still have to serve in the army. Around 25,000 men aged 18 or 19 receive a call-up for a six-month obligatory service after finishing school or a traineeship every year.

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