Substitute Service 

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Rally to conscientious objection in Seoul

South Korea: Conscientious objectors wait for alternative service as legislators remain idle

(23.09.2019) The military conscription system in South Korea has been in place for decades. Conscientious objectors’ fight against the system that criminalized them lasted nearly as long, and they chose to go to jail rather than serve in the military because their faith forbids bearing arms. Their decades long struggle came to an end in June 2018, when the country’s Constitutional Court made a landmark ruling that would lift the stamp of “guilt” from thousands of conscientious objectors. 

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Approaches and challenges for obtaining the status of conscientious objector

(24.05.2019) In the present report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) builds upon submissions received from stakeholders and on the analytical report submitted by OHCHR to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fifth session (A/HRC/35/4). It reaffirms briefly the international legal framework outlined in that report, points to some implementation gaps, then provides information on current trends and developments relevant to conscientious objections since 2017. It subsequently outlines different approaches for obtaining the status of conscientious objector to military service and their associated challenges. OHCHR concludes the report by proposing the minimum criteria that should be respected in application procedures for obtaining the status of conscientious objector to military service.

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Northern Cyprus: Assembly to Debate Draft Bill on Conscription

(08.01.2019) Following the case of conscientious objector Halil Karapaşaoğlu, who has been fined for refusing to present himself for military service, a draft bill concerning amendments to military law is being presented to the TRNC Assembly for debate. The new law provides for two options for Turkish Cypriots who do not want to serve in the armed forces: to provide a civil service in the army according to their capabilities, professional skills and educational background, or to be employed by the armed forces in public institutions for the public interest.

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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.