Conscientious objectors to serve at correctional facilities for 36 months

SEOUL, South Korean men who refuse to join the military due to religious faith will be subject to three years of alternative duty at local correctional facilities, nearly double the length of service for Army draftees, the defense ministry announced Friday.

The ministry put on public notice the proposed revision to the Military Service Act and a new bill on introducing the program in 2020, capping months of heated debate that pitted rights advocates against critics, mostly conservatives.

In June, the Constitutional Court upheld the criminalization of conscientious objection but ordered the amendment of the conscription law by the end of next year to authorize their alternative service.

All able-bodied Korean men are obliged to serve in the Army for 21 months, the Navy for 23 months or the Air Force for 24 months. The Moon Jae-in administration seeks to curtail the term to 18 months for the Army, 20 months for the Navy and 22 months for the Air Force by 2022.

"The defense ministry has tried to craft a reasonable alternative form of service that harmonizes military service obligation and freedom of conscience," Lee Nam-woo, chief of the ministry's personnel welfare office, told a press briefing.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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