2015: KDV ist kein Verbrechen

Kriegsdienstverweigerung in Südkorea

15. Mai 2015 - CO day    (CO=Conscentious Objectors=Kriegsdienstverweigerer)

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South Korea: Conscientious objection is not a crime

Who are the conscientious objectors in South Korea?
Young men who object to military service for reasons of conscience.

South Korea: the world’s top jailer of conscientious objectors
South Korea imprisons more people for their conscientious objection than the rest of the world put together. The country has held at least 10,000 conscientious objectors in prison since 2000 for their refusal of military service, the LARGEST number in the world.

Obligatory military service WITHOUT alternative
There is NO provision in South Korean law for conscientious objectors to undertake an alternative form of genuinely civilian service.

Criminalization and stigmatization of conscientious objectors
For most of the young men who were imprisoned for objecting to compulsory military service, it is virtually a life sentence. In addition to criminal records, they are also marginalized by the society for being “unpatriotic”, as serving in the military is considered by many people in South Korea a “holy” duty due to the security situation.

Your signatures are powerful. Your names, in their thousands, can persuade the South Korean authorities to stop the imprisonment of conscientious objectors!

Dear Minister,

I am calling for your attention regarding conscientious objectors who are jailed for objecting to military conscription for reasons of conscience.

Refusing to perform military service for reasons of conscience or profound personal conviction, without suffering any legal or other penalty is part of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, found in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which South Korea is a state party, as well as in Articles 19 and 20 of the Constitution of South Korea.

I therefore sincerely urge you to undertake measures to ensure that the South Korean Government will:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release all individuals imprisoned solely for exercising their right to refuse to perform military service in absence of a genuinely civilian alternative and refrain from imprisoning conscientious objectors in the future;

2. Recognize the right to conscientious objection to military service as a human right inherent to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

3. Make appropriate provisions for conscientious objectors to military service; 

4. Clear the criminal records and provide adequate compensation for conscientious objectors in South Korea who have been imprisoned for refusing military service by reason of their conscientiously held beliefs.



Ev. Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kriegsdienstverweigerung und Frieden

      Internationale Arbeit für Kriegsdienstverweigerer und Deserteure

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection, Brüssels
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