Reforms demanded for military service

Swiss men should be given the choice between military and civilian service, says a government advisory committee.

This content was published on October 3, 2011 minutes and agencies

A third of all Swiss men called up for military service are currently declared unfit, said committee president Pierre Maudet on Monday.

This “unequal treatment” would only get worse, he added, when the army implemented plans to reduce troop numbers from 200,000 to 100,000.

The 20-member strong commission said it wanted to reform rather than abolish military service, saying men should be able to choose freely.

All able-bodied Swiss men are called up to do military service. If one is declared fit for military service – as on average two-thirds of conscripts are – the only way out is to opt on ethical grounds for civilian community service. This lasts 50 per cent longer than military service.

Military and civilian protection service is optional for women, something the government advisory committee supported.

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