South Korea 

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Conscientious Objector

South Korea: After historic breakthrough, conscientious objectors face new challenges

(26.02.2019) South Korea’s Ministry of Defense proposed a system for alternative service to the military on Dec. 28, following a historic decision by the Constitutional Court in June, which ruled that the existing law does not guarantee freedom of conscience.

The court’s decision —which was a major victory for the movement to recognize conscientious objection in South Korea — has sparked a fierce debate over the issue. There have been tangible achievements, such as the Supreme Court finding a conscientious objector to be innocent for the first time ever on Nov. 1. However, the struggle over how the alternative service system will work is just beginning:

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In front of the South Korean embassy in Berlin

South Korea: Government plans tougher regulations against conscientious objectors

Urgent Action

(17.12.2018) On 13 December 2018, another hearing was held in Seoul, South Korea, on a legislative amendment proposing a so-called alternative service for conscientious objectors. As it turns out, the government does, in fact, provide for stricter regulations that have conscientious objectors serve and live exclusively in detention centers for a period nearly twice as long, viz. 36 months.

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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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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