Lawmakers will provide alternatives to mandatory military service in South Korea.
On June 28, the South Korean court announced that conscientious objectors will not receive criminal punishment for refusing to serve in the military. Up until now, all eligible South Korean men had been obligated to serve, as the two Koreas are still at war.
However, after receiving legal appeals from certain religious sectors, the court decided to deem the rights of conscientious objects as constitutional. In addition, lawmakers will begin to take steps to legalize flexible alternatives to mandatory service. Instead of serving in the army, working in hospitals, firehouses, or homeless shelters may be considered as justifiable options for civic duty. The only issue remaining is the exact time frame for the change to become effective; under current laws, serving in the military would still be mandatory. By the end of next year, lawmakers say they will come up with necessary procedures to properly prepare for the alternatives. Most likely, a systematized set of rules regarding mandatory service will come into existence in 2020.
Despite the outcome, controversy among citizens and certain sectors continue to arise. For example, some still question the validity of involving matters of moral issues into the subject. If refusing to serve in the army is for a reason of conscience, then would it fair to denote men who decide to serve as those without conscience?
Further updates will be revealed soon.