A tank and soldiers holding guns beside two children with a big red line struck through them.

UNCRC Article 38

I have the right not to join the armed forces

Governments should not recruit children into the armed forces.

Governments should make sure that children are given extra protection when there is a war or armed conflict.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has made it clear that no child under 18 should be recruited to the armed forces.

When people between 15 and 18 sign up to the armed forces, priority should be given to the oldest among them.

Children and young people should never be forced to fight in the armed forces or go to war. This right covers all jobs in a war, so doesn’t just apply to soldiers.

Day of General Discussion

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child facilitates Days of General Discussion where experts from around the world can discuss a child rights issue in detail. The reports of their discussions are a helpful tool to understand how the UNCRC should be interpreted.

1992’s Day of General Discussion focused on children in armed conflict, so is relevant to Article 38.


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