Pros And Cons Of Conscription Compulsory Military Service

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The first European Institution, indeed the first international organisation of states, to formally recognise conscientious objection to military service was the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

In September 1965 Amnesty International raised with the Council the question of conscientious objection in relation to Article 9 (freedom of conscience, thought and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Council asked the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Germany, to prepare a study of the situation in the member states, as a result of which the Consultative Assembly on 26 January 1967 adopted Resolution 337, including the following 'basic principles':

"Persons liable to conscription for military service who, for reasons of conscience or profound consviction, arising from religious, ethical, moral, humanitarian, philosophical or similar motives, refuse to perform armed service shall enjoy a personal right to be released from the obligation to perform such service. This right shall be regarded as deriving logically from the fundamental rights of the individual in democratic Rule of Law states which are guaranteed in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights."

The concept of conscription - compulsory military service by all able-bodied males on behalf of the state - dates back to mediaeval obligations to monarchs and overlords, and then was formalised as a permanent institution in the Revolutionary
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