Unlike civilians, enlisted soldiers have to accept some constraints concerning their political and civil rights. Among the member states of the EU, those constraints differ in terms of scope and extent. Soldiers may be prohibited from running for public office, expressing their personal opinions of government policies or military missions or speaking about their sexual preferences. Even such mundane issues as physical appearance and travel may be highly regulated. During missions the limit to personal freedom becomes more visible, if private communication is screened and censored, for example. Within the military hierarchy, it can be difficult for soldiers to exercise their rights. Who can soldiers turn to if their rights are being violated? What is the right balance between the principles of obedience and legitimate rights of soldiers as citizens? What reforms are necessary to protect and ensure equal rights for soldiers of different national backgrounds serving in the same mission?
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