WRI report on conscientious objection in Finland

In October 2004, War Resisters' International released a report to the United Nation Human Rights Committee, titled "Imprisonment of Conscientious Objectors in Finland". WRI's main concerns are:

  • The right to conscientious objection is only recognised in peacetime. This means that at a time when it would be most needed - at times of war - conscientious objectors will not be able to act according to their conscience. As the right to conscientious objection is derived from Article 18 ICCPR, and Article 18 does not include national security as a reason for limiting the rights guaranteed in Article 18, the non-recognition of the right to conscientious objection in times of war is in breach of Article 18 ICCPR.
  • The imprisonment of total objectors (conscientious objectors to both military and substitute service) is an attempt to use the judicial system to break or change the conviction of a conscientious objector, and is therefore against the spirit of UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2002/45
  • The punitive length of the substitute service in Finland is contrary to the standards set out in numerous resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights, and is also contrary to the Decision on the merits of complaint 8/2000 to the European Committee of Social Rights in the case of Greece, which can be compared to the present situation in Finland.
  • In practice conscientious objectors is discriminated against in relation to their economic situation during their time of service, contrary to numerous resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights.

The report is available on WRI's website at wri-irg.org/news/2004/un-finland04-en.htm