Informe sobre el país: France



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

Military recruitment


In 2001, France ended conscription in peacetime1. This was based on a change of the National Service Law in 19972. However, conscription is in fact only suspended, and can be reintroduced in times of war or an emergency. The relevant articles of the National Service Law have been changed in a way that presently they are suspended for persons born after 31 December 19783. They can easily be reinstated.

Conscription has been replaced by a compulsory one day "rendez-vous citoyen" (national day of preparation for national defence). All young men and women between the ages of 16 and 18 are obliged to participate in this day. On this day, people have civil status and do not have to bear arms or wear a uniform or be subjected to military discipline. Participation in the "rendez-vous citoyen" is a necessary condition for taking part in final examinations or obtaining a diploma in state universities4.

Professional soldiers

The service of professional soldiers is regulated in the Defence Law (Code de la Defense)5

Conscientious objection

Conscientious objection for conscripts

The right to conscientious objection was legally recognised in 1963. French CO legislation was restrictive and did not comply with international standards on conscientious objection. CO applications could only be made before starting military service and not by serving conscripts, and substitute service lasted twice as long as military service. In 1999, the United Nations Human Rights Committee came to the conclusion that this length of substitute service constituted a violation of article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights6.

Compared to other European countries, the number of COs in France has always remained relatively low. During the 1990s approx. 6,000 CO applications were made per year, which was only 3 per cent of all eligible conscripts.

With the suspension of conscription in 2001, the 1983 Law on Conscientious Objection (Law 83/605) became applicable only to men born before 31 December 1978. Consequently, young men who are born after 1979 have no possibility of claiming the right to conscientious objection.

Conscientious objection for professional soldiers

The right to conscientious objectors is not recognised for professional soldiers.

Draft evasion and desertion

No information on practice is available.


1France salutes end of military service, BBC News Service, 29 November 2001,, accessed 2 May 2008

4The Right to Conscientious Objection in Europe, Quaker Council for European Affairs, 2005,, accessed 2 May 2008

6Communication Nº 666/1995 : France. 09/11/99. CCPR/C/67/D/666/1995. (Jurisprudence),, accessed 9 October 2008

Rrtk-update-2008-France.pdf177.12 KB

Co related articles

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Andreas Speck es insumiso y activista histórico del movimiento pacifista y antinuclear en Alemania. En la actualidad es coordinador de la Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra (una red pacifista mundial de grupos y personas fundada en 1921) para los programas de apoyo a la objeción de conciencia en países como Colombia, Israel, Grecia, Chile y Corea del Sur.

15 Ene 2009

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.

09 Nov 1999

Comunicación Nº 666/1995 : France. 09/11/99.
CCPR/C/67/D/666/1995. (Jurisprudence)
Convention Abbreviation: CCPR
Comité de Derechos Humanos
67º período de sesiones
18 de octubre - 5 de noviembre de 1999

Dictamen del Comité de Derechos Humanos emitido a tenor del
párrafo 4 del artículo 5 del Protocolo Facultativo
del Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos
- 67º período de sesiones -

Comunicación Nº 666/1995**
Presentada por: Frédéric Foin (representado por François Roux, que ejerce la abogacía en Francia)
Presunta víctima: El autor

03 Ago 1997

4 de agosto de 1997


19. Preocupa al Comité que para ejercer el derecho a la objeción de conciencia al servicio militar, que forma parte de la libertad de conciencia con arreglo al artículo 18 del Pacto, sea necesario presentar la solicitud correspondiente antes de comenzar el servicio militar y que después ya no sea posible ejercer ese derecho. Por otro lado, el Comité advierte que el servicio sustitutivo dura dos veces más que el servicio militar y que ello puede plantear cuestiones de compatibilidad con el artículo 18 del Pacto.


31 Jul 1991

La creación de un marco para la objeción de las mujeres al servicio militar fue uno de los frutos de “Assises de l’objection”, una reunión de tres días sobre objeción de conciencia organizada por la comunidad Le Cun du Larzac en el sur de Francia.

La conferencia y sus talleres analizaron todos (o muchos) de los aspectos de la objeción, desde la presión sobre la comunidad científica para que colaboren con la institución militar, la militarización de la educación, el papel de las parroquias en la objeción...