Campaigners seek reform of Swiss militia system

The proposed civic duty is meant to be "service for the common good and the environment", according to the campaigners. © Keystone/Christian Beutler

A political campaign has been launched to reform the Swiss militia system to include both men and women in a community service.

This content was published on April 26, 2022 - 16:56

The compulsory “citizens serviceExternal link” would benefit society and the environment, according to the promoters.

“The current system of civilian and military protection must be improved and modernised to tackle the challenges of the 21st century – and the commitment of everyone is necessary,” the campaigners said on Tuesday.

They specified that foreign residents in Switzerland, as well as women and men considered unfit for the armed forces, should be asked to serve in the service.

Under the current system, only able-bodied Swiss men complete compulsory military service, while others opt for a civilian service.


In a bid to promote their cause, the campaigners on Tuesday started collecting signatures for a nationwide vote on their proposal.

The group, made up of representatives of civil society and several political parties, has 18 months to hand in at least 100,000 signatures for their people’s initiative.

The move comes as the government is considering ways to boost the recruitment of members of the army and the civil protection service.

There are concerns that the current level of staffing – 140,000 recruits for the militia army and 72,000 people for civil protection duties – will no longer be possible in a few years time.

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