Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - The Gambia

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2001
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - The Gambia, 2001, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.

  • Population:
    – total: 1,268,000
    – under-18s: 586,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 800
  • Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: signed on 21 December 2000; supports "straight-18" position
  • Other treaties ratified: ACRWC; CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 138
  • There are no indications of under-18s in government armed forces.


In 1999, The Gambia sent troops to Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau as part of ECOMOG forces.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

There is no conscription in The Gambia. According to Section 23(2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap 19 Laws of The Gambia, "Where a person enlisting has not attained the age of 18 years, his period of enlistment shall commence from the date he attains the age of 18 years". The legislation further specifies that persons under the age of 18 should not be enlisted in the armed forces (The Gambia National Army).739 This is reinforced in the Constitution. Volunteers may include both men and women. After enlistment they undergo training for four to six months.740


International Standards

The Gambia signed the CRC-OP-CAC on 21 December 2000 and supports a "straight-18" position. In October 1999, The Gambia issued a Joint-Declaration with the Republic of Costa Rica, recognising the importance of the work of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, the promotion of the ratification of the CRC-OP-CAC and the necessity of eliminating child labour and the use of children for the practise of violence.741

739 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under Article 44 of the Convention: Gambia. 28/9/00. UN doc. CRC/C/3/Add.61, para 68.

740 Letter of the Department of State for Defence, Republic of the Gambia, to the Friends World Committee for Consultation, Banjul, 7/1/98.

741 Vista de Estado a la República de Costa Rica del Presidente de la Repblica de Gambia, Declaración Conjunta, 29-31/10/99.

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