Tobias Pflüger: There is a right and a duty to conscientious objection


Hearing in the European Parliament on conscientious objection in the European Union

Regarding todays public hearing in the Subcommittee Security and Defence (SEDE) of the European Parliament on conscientious objection, MEP Tobias Pflüger (DIE LINKE), member of the Committee for Foreign Relations(AFET) and coordinator of the Left Faction (GUE/NGL) in the Subcommittee Security and Defence (SEDE) declares:

The European Union and its Member States more and more send troops to operations abroad. Regulations for soldiers, who want to conscientiously object during an operation, do not exist, neither on the level of the EU, nor in the majority of EU Member States. This is one conclusion of todays hearing on conscientious objection in the European Union in the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) of the European Parliament, which had been organised on the initiative of Tobias Pflüger (MEP).

Expert Andreas Speck of War Resisters' International explained in detail the desastrous situation of conscientious objection in the EU Member States, especially regarding professional soldiers. Only in the EU Member States Netherlands, Germany and Britain exists a right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers. None of the other 24 EU Member States know this basic right. This is in contradiction to the resolution of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which concluded in 1998 that “that persons performing military service may develop conscientious objections”.

Peace researcher Prof Johan Galtung clarified at the beginning of the hearing, that not those who refuse military service for reason of conscience have to explain why they do so. The burden of proof is instead with the government of states also from among the EU, which are of the opinion that there is a right for soldiers to kill. There is not just a right, but a duty to conscientious objection. Tobias Pflüger (MEP DIE LINKE) expressed his agreement and declared: "We have to support those, who in the EU Member States do not want to participate in wars, be they clearly illegal wars such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the more frequent military operations of the EU."

To support this concern the office of Tobias Pflüger published a study on conscientious objection in the EU and EU candidate countries in English with an introduction and summary in German, which is available free of charge (postage will be charged) also in greater numbers from the following address:

Regionalbüro Tobias Pflüger, Hechingerstr. 203, 72072 Tübingen, Tel.: +49-7071-7956981,

Download at:…

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