Hungary suspended conscription

The last conscripts left the Hungarian Army on 3 November 2004. However, this is not a move towards demilitarisation, which can be seen from comments made by Hungary's Defence Minister Ferenc Juhasz:

"Wars based on ethnic or religious conflicts can not only threaten the world militarily, they can also threaten through terrorism, the drug trade or human trafficking.

"Like it or not, this means our forces must be prepared for missions like ones in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

Juhasz said Hungary, which joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union on May 1 of this year, aims to reduce its professional military from the current level of over 30,000 soldiers to between 22,000 and 25,000."

War Resisters' International is presently unaware what this will mean for the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers of the Hungarian military. According to the law on conscientious objection which was in force during times of conscription, professional soldiers could not apply for conscientious objector status.

Hungary has presently 300 troops in Iraq, but these will be withdrawn by the end of the year. The Hungarian soldiers currently in Iraq are charged with carrying out logistics work and are based at Hilla, 100 kilometres south of Baghdad under Polish command. So far the contingent has suffered one fatality when a soldier was killed by a bomb in June.

Sources: http://staging.defensenews.com/story.php?F=486019&C=europe, http://staging.defensenews.com/story.php?F=506923&C=mideast
War Resisters' International: Refusing to bear arms, 1998: http://wri-irg.org/co/rtba/index.html