The position of the Peace Tax Foundation is that taxation for the purpose of war and other military spending is a form of conscription. Conscripting our taxes for military purposes is contrary to our deeply held moral principles. The Peace Tax Foundation seeks to advocate for the evolving understanding that conscientious objection to war also applies to paying for it through taxation. Like the United States, the United Nations recognizes conscientious objection. The Office of The High Commissioner on Human Rights has spoken to the issue of conscientious objection:
“The right to conscientious objection to military service is based on article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , which guarantees the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief. While the Covenant does not explicitly refer to a right to conscientious objection, in its general comment No. 22 (1993) the Human Rights Committee stated that such a right could be derived from article 18, inasmuch as the obligation to use lethal force might seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one’s religion or belief.
The Human Rights Council, and previously the Commission on Human Rights, have also recognized the right of everyone to have conscientious objection to military service as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as laid down in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (see their resolutions which were adopted without a vote in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2012and 2013).”
In addition, more information can be found in the United Nations publication “Conscientious Objection to Military Service”
The European Convention on Human Rights:
Article 9 [of the European Convention on Human Rights] does not explicitly refer to a right to conscientious objection. However, [the European Court of Human Rights] considers that opposition to military service, where it is motivated by a serious and insurmountable conflict between the obligation to serve in the army and a person’s conscience or his deeply and genuinely held religious or other beliefs, constitutes a conviction or belief of sufficient cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance to attract the guarantees of Article 9 … Whether and to what extent objection to military service falls within the ambit of that provision must be assessed in the light of the particular circumstances of the case” (Bayatyan v. Armenia, Grand Chamber judgment of 7 July 2011, § 110).
For more information and case law, see the European Court of Human Rights Fact Sheet on Conscientious Objection.
The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection
The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) was founded in 1979 as an umbrella organization for national associations of conscientious objectors, with the aim of promoting collective campaigns for the release of the imprisoned conscientious objectors and lobbying the European governments and institutions for the full recognition of the right to conscientious objection to military service.
In the political context of a growing importance attached to European defense cooperation, armament projects and joint military operations, the right to conscientious objection to military service risks to be marginalized instead of being consistently perceived as a human right to be monitored and guaranteed.
For numerous conscientious objectors in Europe 2019 has been a year predominantly characterized by regression and political lack of interest to implement the right to conscientious objection in compliance with European human rights standards.