Friday 4 March 2016

NoMilService: Egypt must recognize Samir Elsharbaty’s right to Conscientious objection

“I believe in peace, and in my right to refuse conscription. The military service contradicts with my principles and pacifist beliefs” - Samir Elsharbaty

No to Compulsory Military Service Movement declares its solidarity and support to the Conscientious Objector Samir Elsharbaty. We demand the Egyptian authorities to accept his request to be exempted from the military service, and to transfer him to a civilian service instead, as per his request.

Samir Elsharbaty has submitted a request to the Egyptian Minister of Defense on March 3rd, 2016, demanding an exemption from the military service based on his Pacifist beliefs. Samir has also submitted similar requests to the Prime Minister, the President of the Parliament, and to the President of the Republic. His requests are based on article 64 of the Egyptian constitution which guarantees freedom of belief to all citizens without limits.

Samir is a designer, implementer, and analyzer. He has a bachelor degree in English literature from Ain Shams University. He had worked as an English language instructor for several years. He had also worked with Wikimedia Foundation since 2013 in several projects to provide easy access to free information for Arabic readers.

Last week, Samir released a statement, in which he explained why he has decided to refuse conscription. Samir said that serving his country is a great honor, and that he has served his country through many education and development projects. Samir added that despite his strong will to serve his country, he can’t betray his pacifist beliefs, nor accept to be part of the Egyptian military considering the way it treats Egyptian citizens and soldiers. Samir also mentioned that the Egyptian military has actually installed a forced labor system by forcing conscripts to work in economic projects which has no military or defense purpose, in an obvious violation to international laws.

“The inhumane treatment which conscripts receive in the Egyptian army is in no way a service to our country, but a systematic humiliation by those who abuse power” - Samir Elsharbaty
Since different national and international legislations guaranteed freedom of belief, thought and conscience including: Article 18 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which affirms that "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion", Article 18 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits any kind of coercion that breaches the freedom of religion or belief, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report in July 2013 regarding the Right of Conscientious Objection to the military service. The Egyptian Constitution, in Article 64, also affirmed the freedom of belief. The Egyptian National and Military Service Law have established an alternative civic service in addition to the military one, and mandated the Minister of Defense to determine the due groups to be exempted from the military service.

No Compulsory Military Service Movement demands the military leadership in Egypt to respect the international law and to uphold Egypt’s commitments towards the International Community. Samir Elsharbaty 's right to conscientious objection must be recognized. Egypt needs to stop pretending that there are no conscientious objectors in Egypt. Egypt must create a route for those who aren’t willing to serve in the military, to be able to serve their country in civilian institutions without punishment for their decision.

4 Mar 2016

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