Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

Brazil: Alternative service; general information and nature of alternative service; consequences for a person who performed alternative service rather than military service; military service, namely, the age of conscription, the length of service, alternative solutions and consequences for people who refuse to serve for religious reasons (2000-2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa
Publication Date 2 June 2005
Citation / Document Symbol BRA43526.FE
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Brazil: Alternative service; general information and nature of alternative service; consequences for a person who performed alternative service rather than military service; military service, namely, the age of conscription, the length of service, alternative solutions and consequences for people who refuse to serve for religious reasons (2000-2005), 2 June 2005, BRA43526.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/440ed6d62.html [accessed 11 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Little information on the consequences of a person's performing alternative service rather than military service could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Attached is Law No. 8239 of 4 October 1991 on alternative service and military service; it was translated from Portuguese into French by the Multilingual Translation Directorate of the Translation Bureau.

Other sources consulted provide additional details on the possibilities of alternative service in Brazil and the conditions involved.

The daily O Estado de Sao Paulo indicated in March 2004 that a regulation on alternative service was to come into effect in 2005 and would allow conscientious objectors to work in civilian departments (5 Mar. 2004). Each year, 76,000 people choose not to serve in the military for religious or political reasons, while 41,000 others [translation] "refuse to live in military barracks, pledge allegiance to the flag or bear arms" (O Estado de Sao Paulo 5 Mar. 2004).

A 24 April 2004 article from the Independent Media Center (Centro de Mídia Independente, CMI) in Brazil referred to the statements of a professor who specializes in military service issues in Brazil. According to the professor, Paulo Roberto Loyolla Kuhlmann, young Brazilians do not know about the possibility of choosing an alternative to military service (CMI 24 Apr. 2004). Performing alternative service can still be a problem because it requires allegiance to the flag, which can contradict the religious beliefs that led a person to choose alternative service (ibid.). Voluntary civil service allows marginalized youth to integrate through [translation] "human rights courses, community services and academic development" (ibid.).

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, Professor Kuhlmann indicated that alternative service only exists in theory because no ministry has implemented it (13 May 2005). He pointed out that the refusal of Jehovah's Witnesses to join the army or to pledge allegiance to the flag used to result in loss of citizenship (Kuhlmann 13 May 2005). He said that authorities are now more flexible in order [translation] "not to cause problems for these youths" (ibid.). He also said that the government of President Lula da Silva seems to be promoting voluntary service in the armed forces to develop civic sense in youths and to provide them with technical knowledge (ibid.).

The Agência Câmara de Noticias indicated in 2002 that [translation] "professional civil service" (Serviço Civil Professional, SCP) would be instituted for recent graduates of higher education (13 Dec. 2002). The SCP involves supervised work for a 12-month period in places where the graduate's profession is in demand (Agência Câmara 13 Dec. 2002). A recent graduate is not eligible to the SCP [translation] "if there is no demand during a particular semester" (ibid.).

The Agência Câmara de Noticias indicated that the SCP will be phased in between 2002 and 2007 and that [translation] "in times of peace, students enrolled in a higher education course can request that the armed forces recognize the SCP as an alternative to mandatory military service" (ibid.). If the request is accepted, the military service will be postponed until the studies are completed (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Agência Câmara de Noticias [Brazil]. 13 December 2002. "Aprovada Criação do Serviço Civil Professional." [Accessed 21 Apr. 2005]

Brazil. 4 October 1991. Loi relative à l'accomplissement du service de remplacement du service militaire obligatoire. Translated from Portuguese into French by the Multilingual Translation Directorate, Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services of Canada.

Centro de Mídia Independente (CMI). 24 April 2004. "Objeção de Consciência – Serviço Militar Obrigatório no Brasil Está em Queda." [Accessed 21 Apr. 2005]

Kuhlmann, Paulo. 13 May 2005. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate.

O Estado de Sao Paolo. 5 March 2004. "O Ministério da Defesa..." [Accessed 21 Apr. 2005]

Attachment

Brazil. 4 October 1991. Loi relative à l'accomplissement du service de remplacement du service militaire obligatoire. Translated from Portuguese into French by the Multilingual Translation Directorate, Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services of Canada, 3 pp.

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: The Embassy of Brazil, the American Association of Jurists, FLACSO-Brasil, and two professors from the Nucleo de Estudos Estrategicos at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas and the Universidade Estadual Paulista, respectively, did not respond to a request for information within the time constraints for this Response.

Internet sites, including: Agência Brasil, Câmara dos Deputados do Brasil, Centro de Mídia Independente (CMI), Country Report 2004, Embassy of Brazil, FLACSO-Brasil, Fundação Getulio Vargas, Jane's Information Group, Jehovah's Witnesses, Organization of American States, Red de Seguridad y Defensa de America Latina (REDSAL), Universidade Estadual Paulista, WatchTower.org, World News Connection.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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