History of Conscientious Objection

The movement for conscientious objection to military service has been at the heart of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation ever since 1914. Historically, our branches around the world were often the only network of support for those objecting to military service on religious grounds. We collaborated closely with sister organizations, most notably War Resisters' International, to support those objecting on the bases of deeply held convictions that were not religious.


Current Developments

Globally, we have come a long way in establishing an International Human Right to conscientious objection to military service as a human right protected by international law. IFOR is not the only organization that defends this right, however, we play a critical role within a coalition of organizations upholding conscientious objectors around the world.

One critical contribution that we make to this effort is that IFOR maintains a permanent representative at the United Nations in Geneva who focuses primarily on conscientious objection to military service. We coordinate closely with War Resisters' International, the Quaker UN Office in Geneva, and the European Bureau of Conscientious Objection (EBCO) to support conscientious objectors around the world and to call attention to the abuse, imprisonment and harassment faced by those who have made the brave decision to refuse military service.

C.O. Resources

A Conscientious Objectors Guide to the International Human Rights System


EBCO Reports

Every Year, IFOR’s representative works with EBCO to publish a report on the status of C.O.

C.O. Alerts from WRI


Statements to the UN Human Rights Council on matters of conscientious objection

Submissions to UN Mechanisms regarding the provisions for conscientious objectors and related matters in UN member States.

C.O. Articles on IFOR's Blog

Conscientious objection alerts and articles from our blog.