The AKL sees conscription as a harmful system and advocates abandoning it. Military conscription forces some citizens to work unpaid for 6 to 12 months under the threat of imprisonment. It forcefully maintains militarism, even though it is high time instead of preparing to kill other people to address the challenges facing humanity as a whole.
The Union Of Conscientious Objectors actively participates in the public debate on conscription, criticizing the system. Military service is a remnant of the past and a rarity in Europe.
Military conscription is in crisis
At the moment, about one-third of men no longer goes to army, and about a quarter do not do any service. There is good reason to ask whether there is a “general” conscription requirement for men in Finland today. Reduce the legitimacy of compulsory military service already at this very moment - and certainly even more in the future - its fully gendered nature: many feel the obligation for selected according to specific group of people based on gender is no longer this time.
The root cause of the conscription crisis is also clear: the army has no resources - and no longer sees any need - to provide military training to all men. Although the number of those who perfrom military service today is clearly lower than it was 10 or 20 years ago, it is still insanely high. During the war, Finland is expected to summon 280,000 troops. However, there are more than three times more people in the army who are on the reserve. Thus, there are currently more than three military trained in Finland. Why?
Thus, solving the problems of military conscription by increasing the number of those who perform military service would not be possible, because even today the number of those who attend the military is much higher than would be required by military threat assessments. Weapon prices are rising much faster than other price levels, and in the future, wartime military size will most certainly be further reduced. Imposing an army on women would also be an impossible idea, as it only produces too many soldiers for men alone.
Civilian service as a lifeguard for the conscription system
The crisis in military service also affects civilian service. With the majority of conscript aged not participating in military service, the idea could easily arise that they could then take part elsewhere. It is for this reason that it seems that the state machinery is trying to change its attitude towards civilian service. In the past, it was seen as a necessary evil: it is a must-have in order to attract critically acclaimed people to the conscription system, but little attention was paid to it, no resources were invested in it, and the number of those involved was kept low.
But in recent years, authorities have begun to consider ways to make more effective use of civilian service, and even to increase the number of conscripts in civilian service. Even the military and national defense circles - whose interest in civilian service was previously limited to opposing all repentance and stigmatizing persons who have chosen to go civil service - now seem to have a new interest in the subject.
However, saving military service through civilian service would be very problematic. First, no need has been found to create or use a large pool of unpaid conscripts in civil society - except to save conscription. Secondly, it would confuse the labor market and weaken employment and working conditions for those in paid employment. And thirdly, it would violate the prohibition of forced labor contained in international human rights treaties. The treaties allow states to maintain military service by ordering those who refuse to go army to go civilian service by their beliefs, but they prohibit widespread conversion of military service to civilian service.
Get rid of the compulsion-based system
The AKL sees voluntary military service as a realistic substitute for conscript service: reducing the number of those who attend the military service to a reasonable level relative to the size of the army, taking those who want and renouncing compulsory civilian service and punishing total refusals. This would solve the issues of gender equality and human rights in military service.
Military service 2020
The AKL is involved in the Military service 2020 campaign of 14 different organizations. Launched in 2019, the campaign aims to abandon conscription based on sexual discrimination and the punishment of total refusals. During the 2019 Parliamentary elections, the campaign garnered election promises from candidates.