Citizen’s Initiative on Abolition of Conscription
Starting on Monday, 2.9.2013 names are collected for the abolition of conscription in Finland. On the same day, Finnish defence forces start drafting conscripts in the city of Espoo.
Citizen’s initiatives are constitutional rights in Finland. A proposal for change may be submitted to the Parliament, provided it has been signed by at least 50.000 citizens with suffrage. The time frame for collecting names is six months.
The Finnish defence forces is based on universal male conscription, which means all men above 18 years of age are liable to serve. A Finnish citizen who refuses to perform either military or civilian service faces prison penalty, with no parole. The citizen’s initiative proposes conscription be abolished, after which men who refuse service can no longer be sentenced to prison.
Deeply rooted in Finnish society, conscription is a topic not easily debated. Discussions are typically shot down with arguments related to a war that ended 68 years ago, or dismissed with laconic statements on the lack of alternative solutions. Yet, many people would agree a defence force based on conscription of men is expensive, sexist, and an out-dated solution for combating any realistic threat scenarios of today. In fact, most European states have already abolished conscription.
For more information, please email info(a)ohion.fi.