Conscientious Objection 

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Vigil May 15, 2018, in Berlin. Photo Dong Ha Choe

South Korea: 58 conscientious objectors to be released from prison simultaneously

13 still remain behind bars

(27.11.2018) Fifty-eight South Koreans who had been imprisoned for conscientious objection to mandatory military service based on religious grounds will be simultaneously released. Thirteen conscientious objectors will still remain behind bars.

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US base on the island Jeju

South Korea: Government considers 36 months in correctional facilities for alternative service

(15.11.2018) The South Korean government is seeking to impose 36 months of work in correctional facilities for those seeking alternatives to military service after the country’s top court recognized conscientious objection as a valid reason for rejecting mandatory military service.

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Refugee tents in Turkey. Photo: Henry Ridgwell

Syria: Deserters Wary of Syrian Regime’s Pledge of Pardon

(14.11.2018) Syrian refugees, who shirked army conscription, have voiced skepticism of the regime’s amnesty from military service. In October, the regime announced an amnesty for men who deserted the army or have avoided military service, giving them several months to report for duty without facing punishment. The fear of conscription, and potential punishment for ducking it or for desertion, is frequently cited by aid groups as one of the main reasons refugees give for not wanting to return home.

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Action in Seoul. Photo: World Without War

South Korea: Supreme court upholds conscientious objection

(02.11.2018) South Korea's top court ruled Thursday that South Korean men can legally reject their mandatory military service on conscientious or religious grounds without punishment. The landmark ruling is expected to affect the cases of more than 930 conscientious objectors on trial. Hundreds of young South Korean men, mostly Jehovah's Witnesses, are imprisoned every year for refusing to serve in the military.

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