New report makes case for global ban on child recruitment to armed forces

Category: Armed conflict

27th June 2018

A new report by Child Soldiers International details the ways in which recruitment of children by state armed forces can violate the rights of children and young people and discusses why states must apply a ban on recruitment of all children under 18.

The report, entitled 'Why 18 Matters: A Rights-Based Analysis of Child Recruitment', analyses how various aspects of military recruitment can impact on children's rights. This includes targeting children for recruitment, recruiting in schools, the training process and leaving the armed forces. The report uses international human rights instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, to discuss how military recruitment in different countries complies, or does not comply, with international children's rights standards.

The risks of military recruitment of children are also highlighted throughout the report including an increased suicide rate and rates of mental health issues and alcohol misuse.

Child Soldiers International has published recommendations as part of the report which lay out measures States should take to protect the rights of children. These include:

  • Avoiding targeting armed forces recruitment material to children below the age of 18
  • Raising the minimum age for voluntary enlistment into the armed forces to at least 18 years
  • In countries which practice conscription, no person should begin military service until after their 18th birthday
  • Read the full report here.

The release of this report in Scotland has been timely as the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee recently made recommendations regarding armed forces visits to schools, including that a full Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment should be undertaken on the matter.

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