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.



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

Military recruitment


Hungary abolished conscription in 2004, at least in times of peace. Article 70H of the constitution was changed, and now reads: “(1) All citizens of the Republic of Hungary have the obligation to defend their country.

Hungary suspended conscription

The last conscripts left the Hungarian Army on 3 November 2004.

War Resisters' International: Balkans resource page

Rebuilding Kosov@ and the FRY: resource pages

Serbian Deserters in Hungary Face a New Dilemma

From the Safe House Project in Budapest

"Safe house" project report - Ninth report

In last two weeks several religious objectors were released from prisons in Zabela and Nis, Serbia (one Orthodox Christian and a few Jehovah's witnesses). In fact their five-year sentences for draft evasion or refusal to carry a weapon in times of war (NATO military intervention) were replaced with one-year sentence, usually given in times of peace.

The War is Not Over Yet

From the Safe House Project in Budapest

On the anniversary of the beginning of NATO bombing which brought about the escalation of the war in Kosovo and the largest military operations in Europe since WWII, we want to once again speak for those for whom the war is not over yet. Namely, the numerous imprisoned or exiled deserters and conscientious objectors from Serbia who still suffer from refusing to wage a war against civilians in Kosovo or simply refusing to be sacrificial lamb of Milosevic in the pointless war with NATO.

"Safe house" project report - Seventh report

There are a few positive developments since our last report but unfortunately, the need for our work continues if not intensifies.

Report on the activities of the "Safe House" project


The "Safe House" project actively took part in the preparation of Amnesty International's campaign to draw world's attention to the problems of hundreds and thousands of deserters and draft evaders from Serbia and Montenegro who are either imprisoned or in exile, fearing extremely harsh penalties if they return. The biggest number of them is to be found in Hungary. The vast majority of those has no status, no help or understanding from anywhere. In order to fully evaluate their situation a visit was organized to two biggest refugee camps in Hungary.

Safe House Budapest

The idea for the project was born in May this year among Yugoslav deserters and draft evaders who found refuge in Hungary. Since the escalation of war in Kosovo and the consequent NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, thousands of people fled to surrounding countries, Hungary being the most frequent destination for people from Serbia, especially the draft evaders and deserters.

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