Alternative civilian service is a form of national service performed in lieu of conscription for various reasons, such as conscientious objection, inadequate health, or political reasons. See "labour battalion" for examples of the latter case. Alternative service usually involves some kind of labor.
Alternative civilian service is service to a government made as a civilian, particularly such service as an option for conscripted persons who are conscientious objectors and object to military service.
Civilian service is usually performed in the service of non-profit governmental bodies or other institutions. For example, in Germany (before conscription was abolished), those in civilian service worked extensively in healthcare facilities and retirement homes, while other countries have a wider variety of possible placements.
Common synonyms for the term are alternative service, civilian service, non-military service and substitute service.
Examples of countries with thriving civilian service programmes are Cyprus, Switzerland (Swiss Civilian Service), Finland (siviilipalvelus/civiltjänstgöring), Austria (Zivildienst) and Norway (Siviltjenesten i Norge).
Lack of alternative service in Armenia in 2003-2004 was considered to violate freedom of religion by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011.
- Conscription in Germany
- Conscription in Greece
- Conscription in the Republic of China (Taiwan)
- Alternative Service Program, United States
- Selective Service System, United States
- Civilian Public Service, United States
- Forestry service (Russia)
- Zivildienst, Austria and Switzerland
- Siviilipalvelus, Finland
Non-governmental alternative services
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