A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service " [1] on the grounds of freedom of thought , conscience , or religion. In some countries, conscientious objectors are assigned to an alternative civilian service as a substitute for conscription or military service. Some conscientious objectors consider themselves pacifist , non-interventionist , non-resistant , non-aggressionist , anti-imperialist , antimilitarist or philosophically stateless not believing in the notion of state. Many conscientious objectors have been executed, imprisoned, or otherwise penalized when their beliefs led to actions conflicting with their society's legal system or government.

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A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service " [1] on the grounds of freedom of thought , conscience , or religion. In some countries, conscientious objectors are assigned to an alternative civilian service as a substitute for conscription or military service.

Some conscientious objectors consider themselves pacifist , non-interventionist , non-resistant , non-aggressionist , anti-imperialist , antimilitarist or philosophically stateless not believing in the notion of state. Many conscientious objectors have been executed, imprisoned, or otherwise penalized when their beliefs led to actions conflicting with their society's legal system or government. The legal definition and status of conscientious objection has varied over the years and from nation to nation.

Religious beliefs were a starting point in many nations for legally granting conscientious objector status. The first recorded conscientious objector, Maximilianus , was conscripted into the Roman army in the year , but "told the Proconsul in Numidia that because of his religious convictions he could not serve in the military". He was executed for this, and was later canonized as Saint Maximilian.

An early recognition of conscientious objection was granted by William the Silent to the Dutch Mennonites in They could refuse military service in exchange for a monetary payment.

Formal legislation to exempt objectors from fighting was first granted in midth century Great Britain following problems with attempting to force Quakers into military service. In , when the first attempt was made to establish a British Militia as a professional national military reserve, a clause in the Militia Ballot Act allowed Quakers exemption from military service. In the United States , conscientious objection was permitted from the country's founding, although regulation was left to individual states prior to the introduction of conscription.

It reads:. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

The proclamation was ratified during the General Assembly on 10 December by a vote of 48 in favour, 0 against, with 8 abstentions. It is ' The Right to Refuse to Kill '. It was based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and was originally created in Nations that have signed this treaty are bound by it.

Its Article 18 begins: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. However, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights left the issue of conscientious objection inexplicit, as in this quote from War Resisters International : "Article 18 of the Covenant does put some limits on the right [to freedom of thought, conscience and religion], stating that [its] manifestations must not infringe on public safety, order, health or morals.

Some states argue that such limitations [on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion] would [derivatively] permit them to make conscientious objection during time of war a threat to public safety, or mass conscientious objection a disruption to public order, On July 30, , explicit clarification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 18 was made in the United Nations Human Rights Committee general comment 22, Paragraph "The Covenant does not explicitly refer to a right to conscientious objection, but the Committee believes that such a right can be derived from article 18, inasmuch as the obligation to use lethal force may seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one's religion or belief.

In , an announcement of Amnesty International 's forthcoming campaign and briefing for the UN Commission on Human Rights included this quote: "The right to conscientious objection to military service is not a marginal concern outside the mainstream of international human rights protection and promotion. In , the Human Rights Commission reiterated previous statements and added "states should In , Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union recognised the right to conscientious objection.

Not every conviction, genuine though it may be, will constitute a sufficient reason for claiming refugee status after desertion or draft-evasion. It is not enough for a person to be in disagreement with his government regarding the political justification for a particular military action.

Where, however, the type of military action, with which an individual does not wish to be associated, is condemned by the international community as contrary to basic rules of human conduct, punishment for desertion or draft-evasion could, in the light of all other requirements of the definition, in itself be regarded as persecution.

On June 4, , John Courtney Murray , an American Jesuit priest and theologian, delivered an address at Western Maryland College concerning a more specific type of conscientious objection: "the issue of selective conscientious objection, conscientious objection to particular wars, or as it is sometimes called, discretionary armed service. United States that "the exemption for those who oppose 'participation in war in any form' applies to those who oppose participating in all war and not to those who object to participation in a particular war only.

On September 24, , in Israel , 27 reserve pilots and former pilots refused to serve in only specific missions. These specific missions included "civilian population centers" in "the [occupied] territories". These pilots clarified: "We On May 25, , journalist Jack Random wrote the following: "The case of Sergeant Kevin Benderman Iraq War Resister raises the burning issue of selective conscientious objection: While it is universally accepted that an individual cannot be compelled against conscience to war in general, does the same hold for an individual who objects, in the depths of the soul, to a particular war?

Cases of behavior which could be considered as religiously motivated conscientious objection are historically attested long before the modern term appeared. The reasons for refusing to perform military service are varied.

Many conscientious objectors cite religious reasons. Unitarian Universalists object to war in their sixth principle "The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all". Members of the Historic Peace Churches such as Quakers, Mennonites, Amish , Old Order Mennonite , Conservative Mennonites , the Bruderhof Communities [30] and Church of the Brethren object to war from the conviction that Christian life is incompatible with military action, because Jesus enjoins his followers to love their enemies and to refuse violence.

The varied experiences of non-combatants are illustrated by those of Seventh-day Adventists when there was mandatory military service: "Many Seventh-day Adventists refuse to enter the army as combatants, but participate as medics, ambulance drivers, etc. The Church preferred to call them "conscientious participants", because they were willing to risk their lives as test subjects in potentially life-threatening research.

Over 2, Seventh-day Adventists volunteered in experiments involving various infectious agents during the s through the s in Fort Detrick, MD. In the early Christian Church followers of Christ refused to take up arms. In as much as they [Jesus' teachings] ruled out as illicit all use of violence and injury against others, clearly implied [was] the illegitimacy of participation in war The early Christians took Jesus at his word, and understood his inculcations of gentleness and non-resistance in their literal sense.

They closely identified their religion with peace; they strongly condemned war for the bloodshed which it involved. After the Roman Empire officially embraced Christianity , the Just War theology was developed in order to reconcile warfare with Christian belief.

After Theodosius I made Christianity an official religion of the Empire, this position slowly developed into the official position of the Western Church. In the 11th century, there was a further shift of opinion in the Latin-Christian tradition with the crusades , strengthening the idea and acceptability of Holy War.

Objectors became a minority. Some theologians see the Constantinian shift and the loss of Christian pacifism as a great failing of the Church. The US military in which he was never inducted charged him with desertion and spreading propaganda, then sentenced him to death this was later revised to 25 years hard labor.

Regardless of nationality, all men are brothers. God is "our Father who art in heaven". The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is unconditional and inexorable. The lowly Nazarene taught us the doctrine of non-resistance, and so convinced was he of the soundness of that doctrine that he sealed his belief with death on the cross.

When human law conflicts with Divine law, my duty is clear. Conscience, my infallible guide, impels me to tell you that prison, death, or both, are infinitely preferable to joining any branch of the Army. Because of their conscientious objection to participation in military service, whether armed or unarmed, Jehovah's Witnesses have often faced imprisonment or other penalties. In Greece , for example, before the introduction of alternative civilian service in , hundreds of Witnesses were imprisoned, some for three years or even more for their refusal.

In Armenia , young Jehovah's Witnesses were imprisoned because of their conscientious objection to military service; this was discontinued in November In Switzerland , virtually every Jehovah's Witness is exempted from military service. The Finnish government exempts Jehovah's Witnesses from the draft completely.

For believers in Indian religions , the opposition to warfare may be based on either the general idea of ahimsa , nonviolence , or on an explicit prohibition of violence by their religion, e. The 14th Dalai Lama has stated that war "should be relegated to the dustbin of history". Hindu beliefs do not go against the concept of war, as seen in the Gita. Both Sikhs and Hindus believe war should be a last resort and should be fought to sustain life and morality in society. Some practitioners of pagan religions , particularly Wicca , may object on the grounds of the Wiccan rede , which states "An it harm none, do what ye will" or variations.

The threefold law may also be grounds for objection. He was declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI in for dying for his beliefs, and is viewed as a symbol of self-sacrificing resistance. Some conscientious objectors are unwilling to serve the military in any capacity, while others accept noncombatant roles. While conscientious objection is usually the refusal to collaborate with military organizations, as a combatant in war or in any supportive role, some advocate compromising forms of conscientious objection.

One compromising form is to accept non-combatant roles during conscription or military service. Alternatives to military or civilian service include serving an imprisonment or other punishment for refusing conscription, falsely claiming unfitness for duty by feigning an allergy or a heart condition, delaying conscription until the maximum drafting age, or seeking refuge in a country which does not extradite those wanted for military conscription.

Avoiding military service is sometimes labeled draft dodging , particularly if the goal is accomplished through dishonesty or evasive maneuvers. However, many people who support conscription will distinguish between " bona fide " conscientious objection and draft dodging , which they view as evasion of military service without a valid excuse.

Conservative Mennonites do not object to serving their country in peaceful alternatives alternative service such as hospital work, farming, forestry, road construction and similar occupations. Their objection is in being part in any military capacity whether noncombatant or regular service. During World War II and the Korean, Vietnam war eras they served in many such capacities in alternative I-W service programs initially through the Mennonite Central Committee and now through their own alternatives.

Despite the fact that international institutions such as the United Nations UN and the Council of Europe CoE regard and promote conscientious objection as a human right, [40] as of [update] , it still does not have a legal basis in most countries.

Among the roughly one-hundred countries that have conscription, only thirty countries have some legal provisions, 25 of them in Europe. In Europe, most countries with conscription more or less fulfill international guidelines on conscientious objection legislation except for Greece , Cyprus , Turkey , Finland and Russia today. In many countries outside Europe, especially in armed conflict areas e.

Democratic Republic of the Congo , conscientious objection is punished severely. While conscientious objectors used to be seen as deserters, traitors, cowards, slackers or simply un-patriotic, their image has changed drastically in the Western world in past decades. In , The Peace Abbey established the National Registry for Conscientious Objection where people can publicly state their refusal to participate in armed conflict. Conscription was mandatory to all able-bodied Belgian males until , when it was suspended.

Civilian service was possible since Objectors could apply for the status of conscience objector. When granted, they did an alternative service with the civil service or with a socio-cultural organisation. The former would last 1.

After their service, objectors are not allowed to take jobs that require them to carry weapons, such as police jobs, until the age of Since conscription was suspended in and military service is voluntary, the status of conscience objector can not be granted anymore in Belgium. Mennonites and other similar peace churches in Canada were automatically exempt from any type of service during Canada's involvement in World War I by provisions of the Order in Council of yet initially, many were imprisoned until the matter was again resettled.

With pressure of public opinion, the Canadian government barred entry of additional Mennonite and Hutterite immigrants, rescinding the privileges of the Order in Council. After May , as the labour shortage developed within the nation and another Conscription Crisis burgeoned, men were shifted into agriculture, education and industry. Conscientious objection is not recognised in Colombia, which has occasionally resulted of the detention and forced recruitment of those who refuse the draft.

This is despite the fact that the Colombia constitutional court has ruled that conscientious objection is protected by the constitution in



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Wir empfehlen, die verwendeten Materialien im Original durchzusehen. Die genannten Dokumente sind unter folgenden Links abrufbar Zugriff auf alle Quellen am 3. Dezember :. E], A man can be exempted or designated to a certain type of service for a limited number of reasons, including if he is the only son in a family or if he has a serious health issue.

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