Rights And Duties In Democratic Countries

This study seeks a better perspective on the legitimacy of conditional civil rights in democratic nations.

To this end, we examined legal practices that pertain to pledging allegiance and prisoners’ voting rights in the 15 most liberal countries according to the Freedom House index. We also reviewed the conscription policy in  7 democratic nations that still uphold (needed) conscription and have an equal to or higher rate than Israel in the Freedom index.

Allegiance: Like Israel, 9 out of the 15 states require naturalized citizens to pledge allegiance to the state–Canada, Netherlands, Australia, New-Zealand, Uruguay, Denmark, Ireland, Austria, Belgium.

One state (Japan) upholds a similar procedure which involves a declaration to choose Japanese nationality by the naturalized citizen.

Prisoner voting rights: 7 out of the 15 (Netherlands, Australia, New-Zealand, Portugal, Japan, Belgium and Austria) have a partial ban on prisoners’ voting rights, depending on the severity of the crime and the duration of the prison sentence.

One state (Uruguay) has a blanket ban on prisoners’ voting rights. In Israel, all prisoners are entitled to vote for general elections.

Mandatory service: All states exempt certain populations or individuals from enlisting to the army, mostly conscientious objectors – for religious or ideological reasons.  

No such exemption is given to minority groups due to national affiliation. In Israel, there are two minority groups who are exempted from military service: the ultra- orthodox sector – for reasons related to religious faith, and the Arab sector – due to issues of national identity.   

6 out of 7 of the states examined (Australia, Greece, Cyprus, Finland, South Korea and Switzerland) require all exempted individuals to do serve civilly, in which case the service is usually longer.

Israel is exceptional in that it exempts both the ultra-orthodox and the Arab sectors from military service and at the same time does not require these populations to perform alternative service by law.

To the full research…

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