Conscientious objection must be made legal
(01/02-2007) 600 experts discussed conscientious objection in Istanbul 28-29 January, and concluded that Turkey needs a change of legislation.
Turkey and Azerbaijan are the two remaining member states in the Council of Europe that do not recognize the right to conscientious objection. Objectors face imprisonment and deprivation of rights and services that are only provided to those that have completed the military service.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee financed the conference. Said Deputy Secretary General Gunnar Karlsen:
- Supporting this conference we hope for increased understanding in Turkey and other countries for the inherent dignity of all persons, giving them a right to decide whether they will attend military service or not. Establishing respect for the right to conscientious objection is an important part of democracy and human rights.
A conference report will shortly be published in English and Turkish, to provide human rights activists, academics, and objectors with arguments and information.