Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Sao Tome and Principe

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 20 May 2008
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Sao Tome and Principe, 20 May 2008, available at: [accessed 30 November 2015]
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.

Population: 157,000 (73,000 under 18)
Government Armed Forces: unknown
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 18
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 17 (18 with parental consent)
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: not signed
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182

National law provided for 17-year-olds to enlist voluntarily in the armed forces, but it was not known how many were serving.


National recruitment legislation and practice

The 1990 constitution stated that it is the "honour and supreme duty of citizens to participate in the defence of the sovereignty, independence and integrity of the state" (Article 63); it defined the age of majority as 18. The law on compulsory military service stated that the minimum age for recruitment was 18; 17-year-olds could volunteer with the consent of a parent or legal representative; military service was for two years.1 It was not known whether the age limit was strictly enforced, or how many under-18s were serving in the armed forces.


In considering Sao Tome and Principe's initial report in 2004, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed measures taken to protect and promote children's rights, but expressed concern about the lack of compatibility between some domestic laws and the provisions and principles of the convention, and the lack of implementation of relevant domestic laws. It urged the government to accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.2

1 Initial report of Sao Tome and Principe to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.49, 1 December 2003.

2 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by Sao Tome and Principe, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.235, 1 July 2004.

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