14. While welcoming the legislative changes allowing for non-military services applications during mobilizations and serious disturbances and the fact that total objectors can be exempted from unconditional imprisonment, the Committee reiterates its concerns that the length of non-military service is almost twice the duration of the period of service for the rank and file and that the preferential treatment accorded to Jehovah’s Witnesses has not been extended to other groups of conscientious objectors (art. 18).
The State party should fully acknowledge the right to conscientious objection and ensure that the length and the nature of the alternative to service do not have a punitive character. The State party should also extend the preferential treatment accorded to Jehovah’s Witnesses to other groups of conscientious objectors.