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Conscientious Objection Factsheet

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This factsheet explains the international human rights standards that govern conscientious objection. Many states struggle with balancing national security concerns and human rights. Still, governments must universally ensure the right to object to military service based on genuinely-held religious beliefs as an integral part of the absolute right to hold beliefs. The report outlines the human rights standards for laws on conscientious objection, including the process to obtain this status. When compliant with these principles, civilian alternatives to military service can facilitate the contribution of conscientious objectors to the public good, while respecting their beliefs and rights. In countries without provisions for conscientious objection to mandatory military service, individuals often face imprisonment or discrimination. In this factsheet, USCIRF calls on states to ensure their laws comprehensively protect conscientious objectors and release all individuals detained for this reason.