Call of action for Avaaz network to end conscription in Finland and in support of freedom for conscientious objectors.
Finland is one of the last remaining countries in Europe that still has conscription. Finnish society and national culture are very militaristic and conscription is upheld primarily because of militaristic values and traditions. Even the armed forces admit they don't need all the conscripts and the size of reserve forces was cut by about 1/3, from 350 000 to 230 000 active reserve troops [Ministry of Defence, Finnish Army].
Conscientious objectors can get an exemption from armed service through alternative civilian service that is more than twice the length of the shortest military service. Length of the civilian service has been condemned by United Nations Human Rights Committee to be akin to punishment. The only group exempted from service is Jehova's Witnesses, with both UN and EU calling for expansion of this exemption to other groups of conscientious objectors. [CCPR/CO/82/FIN, 2.4.2004]. European Special Representative on Human Rights has criticised Finland on multiple occasions, deeming the length of the civilian service to be clearly discriminative compared to armed service [CommDH(2001)7, CommDH(2006)7], based on recommendations and resolutions [Rec(87)8, Res 337(67), Rec 816(77), Macciocchi Resolution].
Those conscientious objectors who refuse to do any kind of service are referred to as total objectors and they get a sentence of 5 months and 3 weeks. Since 2011 it has been possible to sentence total objectors to an electronically monitored home detention [Finlex 28.12.2007/1446, 28.12.2007/1438].
Nowadays about 40-50 total objectors are sentenced every year. The number of people who refuse to do neither military nor alternative civilian service has been in the rise for the last few years, even if it has become easier to be exempted from conscription altogether [Finnish Union of Conscientious Objectors (AKL)].
Dear members of the Avaaz network, we ask for your help and solidarity to end conscription in Finland. Please sign our petition and share it.
In addition to signing the petition, you could for example:
-Organize a demonstration or some other form of protest at a Finnish Embassy or Consulate abroad. A list of Finland's diplomatic missions abroad: http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?nodeid=17195&contentlan=2&culture=en-US
- Send a message requesting Finland to end conscription and in support of total objectors serving time, to Prime minister Juha Sipilä. (Email: [email protected]
, Twitter:@juhasipila, Fax: +358916022130)
- Send a support letter to total objectors doing time. (http://www.wri-irg.org/node/4718)
- Translate this petition to your language and circulate it.
On behalf of The Union of Conscientious Objectors (AKL)
Antti J. Sipilä
Member of the board
The Union of Conscientious Objectors (AKL), is a youth organization for peace, founded in 1974. It has two roles: in one hand it is an interest group for all kinds of conscientious objectors (COs) and on the other hand it is an anti-militarist organization open to everybody. Anybody can become a member of the Union without any restrictions on age or gender.
For more information, you can contact me: antti.j.sipila (cat's tail) gmail.com
Or our office: toimisto (cat's tail) akl-web.fi