Return to Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements
Rachel Brett (LLM in International Human rights Law) is a British Quaker based in Geneva, Switzerland, where she is an Adviser to the Quaker UN Office, having just retired as their Human Rights & Refugees Representative after 21 years during which she helped to gain recognition of conscientious objection to military service as a human right. She serves on the War Resisters' International Right to Refuse to Kill Committee. Here, she gives as an overview of conscientious objection in international law.
Explicit international recognition of a right to conscientiously object to military service is relatively new with only two regional human rights standards doing so: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Ibero-American Youth Convention. However, older international and regional human rights treaties – specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Human Rights Convention – have been reinterpreted to include conscientious objection to military service, and various of the UN's human rights bodies and mechanisms have endorsed conscientious objection.