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Defence Forces rule ‘not a breach of charter’
Pic: RollingNews.ie

19 Mar 2021 / human rights Print

Defence Forces rule ‘not a breach of charter’

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), which is part of the Council of Europe, has rejected a complaint brought against Ireland by the European Organisation of Military Associations and Trade Unions (EUROMIL).

EUROMIL had argued that the lack of a provision in Irish law enabling members of the Defence Forces to discharge on grounds of conscientious objection was a violation of the European Social Charter.

The organisation said that there were no discharge mechanisms for personnel who became conscientious objectors and no longer wished to serve.

The charter is a legally-binding social and economic counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Conditions 'reasonable'

In its ruling, the ECSR said there was no requirement under the charter for domestic law to explicitly provide for discharge from the military on the grounds of conscientious objection, unless this absence effectively prevented any discharge from the military.

The committee also decided that the conditions under which Defence Forces personnel can discharge after certain periods of service, or by repaying the State, were reasonable.

EUROMIL said that, while it took note of the ECSR’s decision, it maintained that the right to discharge for reasons of conscientious objection was a human right that must be recognised and registered for all members of the armed forces, including professional soldiers, prior to or during military service.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland