Together responds to Armed Forces Bill consultation

Date: 26th March 2021
Category: Armed conflict, UNCRC Optional Protocols and General Comments


Our response highlights key children’s rights concerns arising from armed forces recruitment and calls for the minimum age of recruitment to be increased to 18.

The UK is one of only 16 countries in the world to recruit children from age 16 into the armed forces. This has a significant impact on a wide range of rights under the UNCRC, including the right to life, survival and development; right to education; right to health; and the right to have a child’s best interests at the centre of decisions and actions.

Our response notes that the Armed Forces Bill, as currently drafted, does not address these issues and calls on the Select Committee to take a child rights-based approach to its review.

Our response calls on the Select Committee to amend the Bill so as to:

  • Raise the minimum age for recruitment to 18
  • Change the minimum terms of service for army recruits, to end the current discrimination against those who enlist as children;
  • Ensure that recruitment into the armed forces supports voluntary and informed consent and ensures children are provided with accurate and balanced information.

Read our response here.