The British Armed Forces: Why parental consent safeguards are inadequate 

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC) Art. 3 requires that, before enlistment can take place, recruits aged under 18 be 'fully informed' of the duties involved and their parents signify their 'informed consent'. Art. 3 also requires the armed forces to ensure that recruits' choice to enlist is 'genuinely voluntary'. It is the armed forces' responsibility to ensure that these conditions are met for every child recruit.

It is the view of Child Soldiers International that the armed forces cannot be confident that they routinely have the informed consent of parents before their child enlists or that a child's enlistment is 'genuinely voluntary' in a meaningful sense. Recruitment as practised may therefore be unlawful with respect to OPAC Art. 3.

Published 2019-01-04