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EOP: Conscientious Objection to Military Service
September 26, 2013

Explanation of Position

Statement of the Delegation of the United States of America

UN Human Rights Council – 24th Session

September 26, 2013

(as delivered)

Thank you, Mister President:

The United States is pleased to join consensus on this resolution, and we are grateful for the efforts of the core group delegations to achieve a compromise text that seeks to address the diversity of views on the issue of conscientious objection to military service.  The United States fully supports the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the manner in which such rights may be exercised to voice or raise personal objections to military service.

Although there is no explicit right or entitlement to be granted conscientious objector status under international human rights law, States that practice military conscription should provide individuals a fair and impartial process, established by law, to seek formal conscientious objector status, without reprisal or punishment of any kind.  As members of societies that value the rule of law, unsuccessful applicants for conscientious objector status who refuse to perform military service or other alternatives that may be offered must be prepared to accept the consequences established by law.  The United States has an expansive legal and regulatory process for individuals to request conscientious objector status, including conscripts as well as volunteers for military service whose beliefs about conscientious objection crystallize while they are in military service.  This process also provides for review by civilian courts of decisions regarding such requests for conscientious objector status.

Thank you.