International Ethical and Legal Declarations on CO

2006

Luarca Declaration on the Human Right to Peace

issued by the Spanish Society for the Advancement of Human Rights Law (AEDIDH)

Luarca, Asturias 30th October 2006.

Paragraph 5:

Everyone, individually or in a group, has the right to civil disobedience and conscientious objection for peace, which consists in:

  1. The right to civil disobedience in respect of activities which involve threats against peace, including peaceful protest and peaceful non-compliance with laws which offend the conscience;
  2. The right of the members of any military or security institution to disobey criminal or unjust orders during armed conflicts and to refrain from participating in armed operations, whether international or national, which violate the principles and norms of international human rights law or international humanitarian law;
  3. The right to refrain from participating in - and to denounce publicly - scientific research for the manufacture or development of arms of any kind;
  4. The right to acquire the status of conscientious objector in respect of military obligations;
  5. The right to object to paying taxes allocated to military expenditure and to object to taking part, in a working or professional capacity, in operations which support armed conflicts or which are contrary to international human rights law or international humanitarian law;

2002

European Network for Peace and Human Rights

1 February 2002, Brussels

We recognise the growing movements of protest throughout the world,...

We ask them to join together with others in resistance to military solutions and in the search for peace and global justice. Peace, democracy, and a safe environment are necessary for the world our children will inherit: war is waste and waste is the greatest environmental crime...

As a matter of urgency, we strive to:...

Give support to prisoners of conscience; and to those campaigning for the right to conscientious objection to military service and taxation;...

The full text is available from the site of The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation

2000

NGO Millennium Forum, The Millennium Forum Declaration:

An Agenda of We the Peoples Millennium Forum: The UN for the 21st Century.

May 22-26, 2000, New York.

In the context of the right not to be complicit in killings, we call for full legal recognition of the rights of conscientious objectors.

1993

European Parliament, Committee of Civil Liberties and Home Affairs

in a report on Conscientious Objection in the Member States of the Community

December 3, 1993

(The European Parliament:) considers that this fundamental right of conscientious objection also relates to tax contributions and calls therefore on the Members States to draw up a reply to the conscientious objections of people who are forced to support the military system through the national budget.

(Report by Mr. J.M. Bandres Molet and Ms. R. Bindi, PE 206.246).

Proposed article 16 was not retained by the Plenary of the European Parliament in January 1994.

1993

United Nations Human Rights Committee, General Comment 22 (48)

(article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights),

48th session, July 20, 1993

§ 11. (…) The covenant does not explicitly refer to a right of conscientious objection, but the committee believes that such a right can be derived from Article 18, inasmuch as the obligation to use lethal force may seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one's religion or belief. (…)

1990

World Council of Churches,

Final Document of the World Convocation on Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation,

March 5-12, 1990, Seoul (Korea).

We conclude a covenant (…)

5. For a culture of active nonviolence which is life-promoting and is not a withdrawal from situations of violence and oppression but is a way to work for justice and liberation

5.1 through expressing and implementing the preferential option for a peaceful resolution of conflicts,

5.2 through supporting the right to conscientious objection to military service and tax for military purposes, and providing alternative forms of service for peace, and taxation.

1989

European Ecumenical Assembly in Basle in 1989,

Peace and Justice for the Whole Creation.

[It] strongly affirm[s] the importance of non-violent, political means as the appropriate way of seeking to bring about change in Europe. There are no situations in our countries or on our continent in which violence is required or justified. (§ 61)

1969

AMERICAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

(Adopted at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights, San José, Costa Rica, 22 November 1969)

Article 12. Freedom of Conscience and Religion

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and of religion. This right includes freedom to maintain or to change one's religion or beliefs, and freedom to profess or disseminate one's religion or beliefs, either individually or together with others, in public or in private.
  2. No one shall be subject to restrictions that might impair his freedom to maintain or to change his religion or beliefs.
  3. Freedom to manifest one's religion and beliefs may be subject only to the limitations prescribed by law that are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals, or the rights or freedoms of others.
  4. Parents or guardians, as the case may be, have the right to provide for the religious and moral education of their children or wards that is in accord with their own convictions.

1966

United Nations, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

Article 18.

  1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
  2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
  3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
  4. The State Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own conviction.

1950

Council of Europe, European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public and private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

1948

United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this rights includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

1946

The Charter of the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg), Article 6.

The Tribunal established by the Agreement referred to in Article 1 hereof for the trial and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries shall have the power to try and punish persons who, acting in the interests of the European Axis countries, whether as individuals or as members of organizations, committed any of the following crimes. The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:

  1. Crimes Against Peace: (...)
  2. War Crimes: (...)
  3. Crimes Against Humanity: (...)

Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.