Timeline

Conscientious Objection to Military Service

Issues around the right of conscientious objection to military service.
Event of Note
July 2012

UN Adopts First-ever Resolution on Conscientious Objection

On 6 July, the UN Human Rights Council adopted its first-ever resolution on conscientious objection to military service. The resolution requires the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to publish a regular report on new developments, best practices and remaining challenges regarding conscientious objection around the world. This will ensure that developments at international and regional level, in many of which QUNO is involved, will be brought to the attention of a wide audience, including all governments.

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October 2013

Geneva Reporter, July-October 2013

Read QUNO Geneva's newsletter for the period July to October 2013. Features stories:

  • Children of parents sentenced to death or executed
  • New framework for trade and investment in agriculture
  • Conscientious objection to military service
  • New energy on nuclear disarmament
  • Highlights from QUNO New York

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December 2013

UNHCR issues ‘Guidelines on International Protection No. 10: Claims to Refugee Status related to Military Service’

QUNO welcomes new Guidelines on International Protection relating to claims to refugee status based on objection to military service released by UNHCR. These Guidelines focus on individuals who seek international protection as refugees to avoid recruitment and service in State armed forces, including conscientious objectors, as well as forced recruitment by non-State armed groups. They will provide guidance for governments, decision makers, lawyers and the judiciary as well as UNHCR staff. QUNO hopes that the new Guidelines will help protect conscientious objectors and others fleeing recruitment and service in the military when they seek asylum abroad.

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December 2013

Rachel Brett, QUNO Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, delivers training on the right to Conscientious Objection in Colombia

Rachel Brett, QUNO's representative for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered training to conscientious objectors at the Foro Internacional Por la Objeción de Conciencia al Servicio Militar Obligatorio in Bogotá, Colombia. This presentation focused on the international standards on the right to conscientious objection to military service and alternative service applicable to Colombia.

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March 2014

QUNO co-sponsors 'Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Challenges and International Responses' Human Rights Council side event

At the 25th session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO co-sponsored a side-event entitled “Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Challenges and International Responses”, with the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Croatia and Poland. During this side event, which was moderated by Rachel Brett from QUNO, the panellists explored different elements of the right to conscientious objection. The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, addressed the philosophical underpinnings of conscience and the right to conscientious objection. Sir Nigel Rodley, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, discussed developments within the Committee regarding conscientious objection. The third speaker, Emily Graham from QUNO addressed the practical implications of refusing military service, including prosecution and imprisonment but also fines, lack of necessary identity documentation and discrimination.

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May 2014

Meeting of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors in Brussels

QUNO attended the meeting of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors in Brussels. At the meeting, QUNO reported on recent developments at the United Nations regarding the right of conscientious objection to military service. In particular, QUNO highlighted new Guidelines on International Protection issued in December 2013 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which focus specifically on claims to refugee status related to military service. In addition, Emily Graham from QUNO discussed the practical implications of refusing military service, focusing on the lack of necessary identity documentation and discrimination. 
 

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June 2014

Read QUNO Geneva's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

QUNO Geneva is pleased to share the most recent issue of our Geneva Reporter newsletter and accompanying briefing paper on Conscientious Objection to Military Service. Other featured articles include updates on our Human Impacts of Climate Change work, Crossing Boundaries in Search of Equitable & Peaceful Natural Resource Management, Children of Parents Sentenced to Death, and Intellectual Property & Food Security.

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August 2014

A new Human Rights and Refugees Representative at QUNO Geneva

In February, Rachel Brett who has been Representative, Human Rights and Refugees (HRR) at QUNO Geneva since 1993 announced her plan to retire.  After an international selection process, Laurel Townhead has been appointed to this position from 18 August; we extend a warm welcome to Laurel. Laurel obtained her Master's degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex in 2003. She has experience, among other issues, of work on women in prison, children of prisoners, conscientious objection to military service and support to asylum seekers. She was at QUNO Geneva as HRR Programme Assistant and Project Assistant in 2005-7 and comes to us now from her position as Policy & Campaigns Manager at the UK NGO Women in Prison that she has held since 2008. Laurel has been an attender of Peckham Quaker Meeting in London for several years.

Rachel will continue to work with us part-time as Adviser, HRR during a significant transition period. Her outstanding work has improved the lives of many, changed attitudes, built understanding and led to new international agreements. Rachel has worked on the needs of child soldiers, women prisoners, conscientious objectors to military service, stateless people, and children of parents sentenced to death.

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