CRC concluding observations 2016, paragraph 85

UN recommendation

Plain English recommendation

Government should: (a) Consider raising the UK army minimum recruitment age to 18. (b) Prevent the targeting and recruitment of under 18s into the armed forces. Limit military recruiters’ access to schools. (c) Do more to ensure the recruitment of under 18s is wholly voluntary, and is based on the full consent of the recruit and parents/guardians. Ensure recruitment does not negatively impact on children of ethnic minorities or low-income families. (d) Ensure the minimum period of service for children is no longer than for adult recruits.

Original UN recommendation

The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Consider reviewing its position and raise the minimum age for recruitment into the armed forces to 18 years in order to promote the protection of children through an overall higher legal standard; (b) Reconsider its active policy of recruitment of children into the armed forces and ensure that recruitment practices do not actively target persons under the age of 18 and ensure that military recruiters’ access to school be strictly limited; (c) In recruiting persons under the age of 18, strengthen its safeguards required by article 3 of the Optional Protocol, in order to ensure that the recruitment is genuinely voluntary and based on fully informed consent of the recruit and their parents and legal guardians, and ensure that recruitment does not have a discriminatory impact on children of ethnic minorities and low-income families; (d) Ensure that the minimum period of service applied to children who enlist into the army is no longer than that applied to adult recruits.

Date of UN examination


UN article number

38 (war and armed conflicts – see ‘Optional protocols’)

Last updated on 09/12/2020