WiB Belgrade Statement: On possible reintroduction of military Service in Serbia

Women in Black International Concientious Objection Day
Photo: Nela Bunčić/Nova.rs
Women in Black Belgrade

NO to military service – YES to conscientious objection!

Announcement on the occasion of May 15– International Day of Conscientious Objection

On the occasion of May 15 – International Day of Conscientious Objection, Women in Black organised an antimilitarist action on May 14 in Belgrade (Knez Mihailova Street near the restaurant Ruski car) “NO to military service – YES to conscientious objection!”

The latest campaigns for the introduction of mandatory military service in Serbia represent senseless and cynical propaganda: in the function of militarization, patriarchal control and fear. The proponents of the regime – accomplices and actors of the wars of the 90’s – are oblivious of the fact that large numbers of men refused to be reduced to cannon fodder and that they will not accept that nowadays either for the sake of the regime’s militaristic motives!

On May 15, 2001, the Conscientious Objection Network submitted to the National Assembly of SR Yugoslavia a legislative initiative with over 30,000 signatures requesting the recognition of the right to conscientious objection.      

The right to conscientious objection was recognized on August 27, 2003, owing to the campaign (2001-2003) of the civilian society, primarily of the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (Jukom) and Women in Black, with the massive support of civilian society organizations and citizens throughout Serbia.  The first 300 conscientious objectors applied for civil service in September 2003 and since then the number of conscientious objectors has steadily increased.

Article 45 of the Serbian Constitution provides for the right to conscientious objection in such a way that "a person is not obliged, contrary to his religion or beliefs, to fulfil a military or other obligation involving the use of weapons."

STOP to campaigns for the reintroduction of mandatory military service! Because:  

  • At the beginning of 2011, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Decision on the suspension of the obligation to serve military service.
  • The Constitution guarantees the right to conscientious objection so that there is no possibility of introducing military service for those who do not want it, and those who want can do so through voluntary military service.
  •  The reintroduction of military service would cost the state huge funds – instead, it is requisite to invest money in human security - health, education, environmental protection, protection of women from violence, etc.

Conscientious objection – our right to a choice, to disobedience to all forms of militarization of the society! 

Everything for peace, health and knowledge – nothing for armament!

Women in Black, Belgrade, May 13, 2021.  

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