Title: The historical evolution of the right of conscientious objection to military service in the UN human rights system: 1950-2017

Authors: Andreas Yiannaros

Addresses: Law and Finance Department, University of Bedfordshire, UK

Abstract: This paper discusses the emergence and historic development of the right to conscientious objection to military service within the United Nations framework for the protection of human rights, through the drafting history of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966. It further explores conscientious objection as a fundamental aspect of the right to manifest one's thought, conscience and religion and it outlines the jurisprudence of the UN Human Rights Committee in relation to conscientious objection to military service from 1981 to 2017 to illustrate the Committee's changing approach to the matter and its steps to ensure compliance with international human rights standards. This paper contributes to academic knowledge by exploring the semantic restraints of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and casting light on the delayed response of the UN human rights system in adopting a more liberal approach to the interpretation of the Covenant, which finally recognised - through its monitoring bodies - that conscientious objection to military service is an integral part of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Keywords: conscientious objection; military service; freedom of thought; conscience and religion; human rights; military ethics; war and peace studies; United Nations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRCS.2017.088738

International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies, 2017 Vol.5 No.2, pp.176 - 194

Received: 24 Jul 2017
Accepted: 29 Jul 2017

Published online: 05 Dec 2017 *

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