Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new legislation factsheet about conscientious objection, which is the right to refuse military service based on religious beliefs:
Conscientious Objection Legislation Factsheet – This factsheet explains the international human rights standards that govern conscientious objection. Many states struggle with balancing national security concerns and human rights. Nevertheless, governments must ensure the right to object to military service based on genuinely-held religious beliefs as an integral part of the absolute right to hold beliefs. The report outlines human rights standards for laws on conscientious objection, including the process to obtain this status. When compliant with these principles, civilian alternatives to military service can facilitate the contribution of conscientious objectors to the public good, while respecting their beliefs and rights. In countries without provisions for conscientious objection to mandatory military service, individuals often face imprisonment or discrimination. In this factsheet, USCIRF calls on states to ensure their laws comprehensively protect conscientious objectors and to release all individuals currently detained for this reason.
In October 2019, USCIRF launched its FoRB Victims List, a database that collects information on states and entities that USCIRF has recommended for designation as “countries of particular concern,” “entities of particular concern,” or countries on the “Special Watch List.” This database includes several victims that are imprisoned for conscientious objection, including Bahtiyar Atahanov and Jovidon Bobojonov, whose cases are highlighted in the factsheet.