South Korea 

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In front of the Ministry of Defence

South Korea: More than 8,000 signatures presented for the human right of conscientious objection


(01.12.2015) In a joint action War Resisters’ International, Connection e.V. (Germany), Amnesty International Korea and World Without War (South Korea) today presented more than 8,000 signatures from 108 countries, including members of parliaments from Germany, European Union and South Korea, to the ministry of defense in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The organizations demand the recognition of conscientious objection and the immediate and unconditional release of conscientious objectors in prison.

South Korea: The Power of International Solidarity

(29.08.2014) It was the result of solidarity efforts between activists at home and abroad that the conscientious objection movement in this ultra-militaristic South Korean society began. In 2000 Karin Lee and John Feffer, who were staff members at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in Tokyo and who had been working with many South Korean civic groups, recognised that movements against the Korean military, militarism, conscription system, and other related institutions in Korea were not very active. In July of the same year, Taiwan introduced an alternative military service system. When Karin and John heard this news, they thought that it might be time for South Korea to begin discussing these topics more openly and widely as the circumstances in both Taiwan and South Korea were quite similar with respect to military confrontation, economic growth, and geographical location.

South Korea: Conscientious objector Yoonjong Yoo begins serving 18 month prison sentence

(01.05.2012) War Resisters’ International is concerned about the imprisonment of South Korean conscientious objector Yoonjong Yoo. After he declared his conscientious objection, he was trialed for violation of the country’s military service law, and finally sentenced to the standard 18 months’ imprisonment on 25 April 2012. On 30 April 2012, he reported to the Seoul Detention Centre to serve his sentence.

International Standards on Conscientious Objection to Military Service

(02.05.2011) Conscientious objection to military service is not explicitly recognised in the international human rights standards. This has led some States to argue that it is not protected by them. However, this is not the case. The Human Rights Committee, the expert body which supervises the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is clear that conscientious objection to military service is protected under the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and has stated so in Views (decisions) on individual communications, in its General Comments and in Concluding Observations. In addition, the (former) UN Commission on Human Rights adopted a series of resolutions on conscientious objection to military service, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief of the UN Human Rights Council have also addressed the issue.