Child Soldiers International

Child Soldiers International (formerly the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers) works to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, to secure their demobilisation and to ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

When the Armed Forces Bill was in Parliament in 2011, Child Soldiers International together with a number of leading children’s rights organizations called on Parliament to amend Article 323(2)(c) of the 2006 Armed Forces Act in order to implement a total prohibition on the enlistment of any person below the age of 18.   At present, Article 323(2)(c) allows under-18s to enlist if they have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.  The prohibition on under-18 recruitment could be implemented in phases to allow for adaptations if necessary.


Catch 16-22: Recruitment and retention of minors in the British Armed Forces

March 2011

This report, published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "challenges the status quo currently surrounding the situation of young people in the UK armed forces today. It questions the ethics and legality of the restrictions on young recruits’ rights of discharge, their minimum period of service, and their exposure to the risk of hostilities. The report also makes the case for a considered review and debate on the minimum recruitment age. It highlights the evidence that not only is the experience of recruits in the 16 – 18 age bracket adversely affected by their relative lack of maturity, but that their high drop-out rate results in millions of pounds in wasted expenditure."

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