chapter  14
16 Pages

The Practice and Philosophy of Selective Conscientious Objection

ByAndrea Ellner, Paul Robinson, David Whetham

This chapter suggests that the national authority's deal very differently and often inconsistently with both universal and selective conscientious objection. It is also not always a feasible course of action, as Ellner showed, because objectors do not see themselves as pacifists. Coleman and Coleman charted the evolution of Australia's recognition in law of a right to selective conscientious objection for conscripts, but not the volunteers who make up its current military. After high profile conscientious objection cases in World War I, the British military has sought to deny conscientious objectors publicity and the opportunity to embarrass it or the government openly. Deakin and Ellner cite a Member of Parliament, lawyers and relevant NGOs stating that many British service members choose to go Absent Without Leave (AWOL), rather than claiming conscientious objector status. The chapter argues that a right to selective conscientious objection is instrumentally linked to the military and political decisions-makers' ability to meet these challenges.