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Gov't Decision "Too Little", say Conscientious Objectors

Parliament has approved a bill to cut the length of mandatory civilian service from 13 to 12 months. Finland's League for Conscientious Objectors says this is not enough, since those who opt for civilian instead of military service must still spend more time fulfilling their duties.

The League says the one-month reduction is a step in the right direction. It also welcomes the government's decision to partly fund housing for those completing civilian service. Conscripts' housing is paid for, but of course they must live a highly restricted life in barracks.

The League nonetheless feels that conscientious objectors are still discriminated against. They say the government has failed to show why civilian service should be any longer than conscription.

A move to reduce civilian service to just eight months was defeated in Parliament.

The League says that a significant step toward equality would be for the term of non-military service to be reduced to 11 months.

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