Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, 2004, available at: [accessed 28 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.

Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.

Population: 804,00010 (aggregate)
Government armed forces: no armed forces
Compulsory recruitment age: not applicable; no conscription in Marshall Islands during peacetime
Voluntary recruitment age: not applicable
Voting age: 18; 20 in Palau
Optional Protocol: Marshall Islands, Palau: not signed Micronesia: signed 8 May 2002
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): Marshall Islands: CRC, ICC Micronesia; Palau: CRC, GC AP I and II

No armed forces are maintained by the governments of The Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Defence is provided by the USA.


National recruitment legislation and practice

The USA maintains three separate Compact of Free Association agreements with each state. These agreements determine that the US government has full authority and responsibility for security and defence in relation to the islands.

The constitution of the Marshall Islands states "No person shall be conscripted to serve in the armed forces of the Marshall Islands except in time of war or imminent danger of war as certified by the Cabinet, and no person shall be conscripted if ... he has established that he is a conscientious objector to participation in war" (Article II, Section 11).11

According to the Compact of Free Association between the USA and the Marshall Islands, no Marshallese citizen is subject to "involuntary induction into military service of the United States so long as such person does not establish habitual residence in the United States, its territories or possessions" (Section 341).12 Similar provision is made in the USA's agreement with Micronesia.13

In early 2004, there were around 100 Marshall Islanders serving in the US armed forces, 25 of whom had been deployed in Iraq since 2003. Citizens of Micronesia have also served in Iraq.14

Palau and the USA signed a Compact of Free Association, which entered into force on 1 October 1994 and will be due for review in 2009.15

10 The Statesman's Yearbook 2004, op. cit.

11 Constitution, revised code of 1988, html.

12 Compact of Free Association,

13 Compact of Free Association, as amended May 2003, html.

14 Yokwe Online, "Marshall Islands soldiers serve in Iraq with honor", 13 April 2004,; Joint Communiqué, 13 May 2003,

15 Pacific Islands Report, "Palau, FSM and Marshalls object to Compact changes", 15 August 2003,

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