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The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) has published its Annual Report 2020 on Conscientious Objection to Military Service.
The EBCO report, covering the region of Council of Europe (CoE), finds that the human right to conscientious objection to military service was not high on the European agenda in 2020.
Conscription is still enforced in 18 Council of Europe Member States, including Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus (candidate), Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia (reintroduced in 2017), Greece, Lithuania (reintroduced in 2015), Moldova, Norway, Russia, Sweden (reintroduced in 2018), Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine (reintroduced in 2014).
For conscientious objectors, several European countries are still not safe. They faced prosecution, arrests, trials by military courts, imprisonments, fines, intimidation, attacks, death threats, and discrimination in Turkey, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, and Greece.
As for the minimum conscription age, a disturbing number of European states continue to recruit persons under the age of 18, which is against the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Moreover, some countries breach the absolute prohibitions of placing servicemen aged under 18 at risk of active deployment.
The full report is consultable at the link below.
The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) was founded in 1979 as an umbrella organisation for national associations of conscientious objectors, with the aim of promoting collective campaigns for the release of the imprisoned conscientious objectors and lobbying the European governments and institutions for the full recognition of the right to conscientious objection to military service.