ForcesWatch observe and respond to ways in which the military is being promoted as a normal part of everyday life. We believe that uncritical support for the armed forces stifles concerns about how young people are recruited and limits debate on alternatives to war.
ForcesWatch's work includes raising the following issues in Parliament, the media and the armed forces.
- concerns over the recruitment of under 18 year olds
- terms of service are complicated, confusing and severely restricting, yet unlike any other employment, breaching them can lead to a criminal conviction
- the system for registering a conscientious objection is opaque and little information about it is available to serving personnel
- those in the armed forces are excluded from much human rights legislation. They are not allowed to form a union, speak in public or join political organisations
The UK armed forces visit thousands of schools each year. They offer school presentation teams, youth teams, ‘careers advisors’ and lessons plans. The Government has recently indicated that there will be an expansion of schemes that promote 'military skills and ethos' within state schools.
Should the armed forces by given access to children within education? How can we challenge their activities in schools and colleges? How can a more balanced view of what life in the armed forces involves be given to young people?