If you have started to feel that warfare in general, or a specific operation, is morally wrong – strongly at odds with your conscience – then you could be experiencing a ‘conscientious objection’.
A conscientious objection isn’t the same as just not liking the army.
It means you have a moral objection to killing, or to war, or to a specific deployment that you believe shouldn’t be happening.
Conscientious objection can lead to release from the army, but it’s not an easy option.
You have a right to apply formally to your Commanding Officer but you have to provide evidence in support of your case.
The first thing the CO is likely to do is send you to see the padre.
The padre will ask you whether you think it’s always wrong to kill or harm other people, no matter what.
You’ll also be asked why you didn’t feel this before you signed up, but you do now.
Don’t expect that the padre will automatically support you – you’ll need to convince them. If they do believe you, they should support your application to leave.
The chain of command then makes a decision; if your application is rejected there is a right of appeal.
Applying as a conscientious objector is not an easy option as it can put you into conflict with your mates and with the army (the army doesn’t want soldiers leaving on grounds of conscience in case others get the same idea).
Most soldiers in this position find other ways to leave the army if they can, but some apply for conscientious objector status because the principle is important to them.
If you think you might have a conscientious objection, you can contact us first for more information.