Movement "Stop Conscription in Europe Now!"

From: MINELRES moderator <>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 11:04:35 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: Movement "Stop Conscription in Europe Now!"

From: MINELRES moderator <>

Original sender: Henrik Farkas <>

Movement "Stop Conscription in Europe Now!"

Dear Friends,
The movement "STOP CONSCRIPTION IN EUROPE NOW!": started in 1987 by
some civil organizations in Hungary and Yugoslavia. Last year two
organizations from Russia joined to this loose network.
As you can see from the texts below, the initiative had a new
important impact: an anti-conscription organization of Italy (first
from the West!) joined. We are waiting further joiners, and we publish
the new list of joiners in the near future.
Recall that this coalition is a loose network: joining requires only
the acceptance of the common slogan: "STOP CONSCRIPTION IN EUROPE
NOW!", but our motifs and arguments may differ. Also the coalition is
open to join. Everybody is authorized to collect joiners.
Please if you or your organization joins, let me know.
There are different possibilities:
- joining /supporting/ the joint statement below,
- joining to the coalition "STOP CONSCRIPTION IN EUROPE NOW!",
- supporting the slogan only "INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION FOR
Please propagate these texts.
I am waiting for your remarks.
Help the victims of conscription!
Best wishes
Henrik Farkas
The Italian Committee against Compulsory Military and Civil Service
("Négiusta né utile" - not fair, nor useful) and the Hungarian League
Against Conscription (Hadkötelezettséget Ellenzők Ligája - HEL) call
the citizens and organizations in Europe to join the coalition "STOP
CONSCRIPTION IN EUROPE NOW".  It is high time to abolish conscription,
as a shameful violation of human rights. Conscription is a danger for
peace, it is a tool for nationalistic massacres as the latest events
in Yugoslavia illustrate. Conscription deprives a man of the right to
decide upon his own life and hinders the peaceful citizens not to
participate in a bloody war. Military tribunals prosecutes the
deserters. In spite of the fact that sometimes the deserters maybe
serve better not only the humanity, but even the interest of the own
nation, e.g. in a case of a lost war.  It is high time to recognise:
the international community must protect the rights of deserters.
Anybody must have an asylum if he is subjected to conscription in his
own country.
In many countries the laws on conscience objection already recognise
that the state cannot force its citizens into the army against their
conscience. It is time to recognise that the state cannot arbitrarily
and systematically oblige its citizens to go into any kind of service,
armed or not, against their will. Compulsory military service do not
even respond to today's defence needs, while the civil compulsory
service is a form of feudal corvée which cripples the true meaning of
volunteering and steals job positions, plus endangers workers rights
and achievements. Moreover the present male conscription system is a
kind of sexist discrimination, which we strenuously oppose. We
definitely maintain that military conscription and mandatory civil
service are both anachronistic and unjustified, incompatible with the
right to personal freedom, the right to personal security and the
right to equality without sex distinctions, provided by international
treaties and the universal declaration of human rights.

We are looking for supporters of the initiatives:
Rome - Budapest, 1999.04.10.
Contact /email/:,

The Italian Committee against Compulsory Military and Civil Service
("Né giusta né utile" - not fair, nor useful) and the Hungarian League
Against Conscription (HEL) denounce the conscription everywhere, so in
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. "During a war, in a country where
there is conscription, civilian men in military age are obliged at
gunpoint to dress a uniform and fight for a cause which is not
necessary theirs own cause. Citizens not intending to fight with
anybody are involved in the war due to conscription. This is one of
the reasons why we demand immediate stop to conscription. We denounce
all acts of forced conscription regardless which part practices that,
in this case the Yugoslavian Army, the Albanian separatists’s troops
UCK, or even the NATO armed forces. The peaceful citizens should have
the right to be out of the hostilities, and out of the armed forces" -
they said.
The Yugoslav Defence Forces are based on conscription. One year of
military service is compulsory for the male citizens from 18 to 27
year old; reservist can be called until 60 year old. The alternative
civil service is twice long (24 months). In peace-time deserters are
tried by Military Courts and can appeal to a Supreme Military Court. A
deserter can be sentenced up to 10 years' imprisonment or even to 15
years if he fled abroad. During the war in the former Yugoslavia a lot
of men in military age fled abroad to avoid military service, in
particular ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. Some 12.500 men enjoyed the
1996 amnesty, for those who deserted before 14 December 1995. (See
Amnesty International, The right to conscientious objection in
In 1998, with the worsening of the conflict in Kosovo, thousands of
conscripts were sent to barracks in Kosovo, and were used for
repressive actions against ethnic Albanians. Among these conscripts
there were many ethnic Hungarians, transferred from the barracks in
Vojvodina. According to documents of the European Council (European
Contracts, ETS No. 157., sect. 16.), conscription implies increased
dangers to the national minorities.  According to NATO sources the
Yugoslav Army has "about 85,000 troops, mostly poorly trained
conscripts, and possibly 200,000 reservists. Morale is said to be low,
and a call-up of reservists proved problematic, with hundreds of
reservists protesting in several southern cities, and Montenegro
actively working against the call-up. In some areas, only one in 10
reservists have reported for duty." On March the 24th the Serbian
government declared the state of war. According to Tanjug news agency
the official declaration issued by President Milutinovic of stated:
"All legal proceedings against persons accused of illegal activities
will be suspended, if they are mobilised into the army". Legal expert
Professor Kosta Cavoski, interviewed by independent Radio B-92, said
that while the declaration of an imminent threat of war basically
serves to concentrate executive powers, the state of war can permit
limitation of personal freedoms. According to George Jahn, an
Associated Press writer, "After Serb authorities declared a state of
war and a general mobilisation, many military-age men fled their homes
to avoid conscription". According to the Canadian newspaper "The Globe
and Mail" Serbian deputy prime minister Vojislav Seselj said to the
parliament of Serbia: "There will be no mercy for deserters and those
who disseminate panic, those who are spreading false news and rumours,
or those who are in any way diminishing the defence power of the
country. There will be no backing down ... Everybody has to show a
maximum contribution - everybody has to answer the call to mobilise".
"Brutal treatment of deserters is typical for not only Yugoslavia but
for all the countries and nations insisting on conscription," said the
two anti-conscription organizations. "We call the European
governments, institutions and citizens, as well as the organisation of
United Nations to declare the right of being out of the war, out of
the armed violence, the right of conscientious objection as basic
human rights. Putting an end to conscription could be the first
practical step of the conflict preventing mechanism in Europe.
Therefore we call the European governments to stop conscription
immediately and to do everything possible to outlaw everywhere this
barbaric practice against any fundamental liberties. The right to a
secure existence for all the peace-loving citizens and national groups
- that is what we call for".
Valentina Piattelli
«Né giusta né utile - Comitato per l'abolizione della leva
obbligatoria militare e civile»
Henrik Farkas
Hungarian League Against Conscription (HEL)

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