Education 12:51 14/11/2017 Armenia

Armenian students go on hunger strike in protest of military deferment bill

University students in Yerevan, Armenia continue to protest against a new draft law that would abolish temporary exemptions from Armenia’s mandatory military service for graduate and undergraduate students studying at the country’s state universities. 

Five students, four of whom have fulfilled their military service, have gone on a hunger strike today, Davit Petrosyan, a member of the civic group For Developing Science, said in a speech addressing the protesting students in a Facebook Live video. 

“The key purpose of the hunger strike is to fight against the indifferent attitude of the society, as well as the draft law that would limit the military deferment,” he said, highlight the peaceful purpose of the protest.

The new amendments into the Armenian law “On Military Duty and Military Service” was initiated by the defense ministry and was adopted in the first reading by the parliament days ago. According to the proposed legislation, citizens liable for call-up are conscripted to army for compulsory service, while draft deferments are granted to only those students who would agree to undergo parallel military training and serve in the army as officers for three years after graduation.

Critics of the legislation point to the adverse impact of the new law on the education and science, suggesting the elimination of conscription deferments will prevent prospective students from professional, scientific or educational activities. Meanwhile, the proponents of the law insist the deferments are a violation of social justice. Additionally, cancelling all exemptions for compulsory service would minimize corruption risks in the military and educations spheres in cases when eligible citizens would wish to avoid the army. 



Source Panorama.am
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