- Latvia does not recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.
On 7 June, 2005, the Latvian government approved the “National Armed Forces Medium-Term Development Plan” for the period 2005-2008, which envisaged the phasing out of conscription by the end of 2006. On 24 November 2006, the last conscripts finished their military service.
It is not clear whether all laws governing conscription have been amended or abolished.
According to the 2006 Defence White Paper, the conscription centre, responsible for the recruitment of conscripts, was planned to cease to exist by 1 January 2007.
The Military Service Law of 2002 provides the general framework for military service of any kind, including of professional soldiers. The minimum contract times are
generally three years, but for officers the minimum is five years (Article 20 paragraph 3). A contract can be extended for the same time.
The NAF Recruitment and Selection Centre (RSC), which replaced the conscription centre, visits educational institutions including orphanages to “promote comprehensive information on professional military service, as well as on education and career opportunities within the armed forces”. In addition, the RSC promotes joining the Armed Forces at city festivals and through the mass media.
Conscientious objection for conscripts
The right to conscientious objection was legally recognised by the 2002 Law on Alternative Service. The Law entered into force on 1 July 2002. Before 2002, the right to conscientious objection was not legally recognised.
The status of the law after the end/suspension of conscription is unclear. It has to be assumed that the law is no longer in force. It does no longer appear on the website of the Ministry of Defence.
Conscientious objection for professional soldiers
There is no legal provision for conscientious objection by professional soldiers.
According to Article 43 paragraph 1 of the Military Service Law, “a professional service contract may be terminated before the end of the term at any time by agreement of the parties”.
According to Article 44 paragraph 5 “during an armed conflict, state of war or state of emergency and in case of mobilisation the retirement of soldiers shall be suspended except for cases where a soldier has become unfit for military service.”
Draft evasion and desertion
No information available.