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Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Argentina

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Argentina, 2004, 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.

Argentine Republic

Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.

Population: 38.0 million (12.3 million under 18)
Government armed forces: 71,400
Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription
Voluntary recruitment age: 18
Voting age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified on 10 September 2002
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182

There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces.


In June 2003 newly elected President Néstor Kirchner dismissed a number of senior armed forces officers who had served during the military dictatorship (1976-1983).1 They included the Chief of Army Staff, General Ricardo Brinzoni, who in 2002 had asked for the restoration of compulsory military service because "it is a very useful institution for society".2

In January 2004 President Kirchner ordered investigations into the alleged torture of young soldiers in military premises under the government of President Raúl Alfonsín (19831989). Evidence included photographs from 1986 of naked and blindfolded soldiers being tortured.3


National recruitment legislation and practice

Compulsory military service was ended in 1994 after a conscript was beaten to death by soldiers on the orders of an officer.4 The government may reintroduce conscription in exceptional circumstances with the approval of Congress. The Law on Military Service, Law No. 17.531, would govern recruitment in these circumstances.5 In such cases citizens could be recruited for a maximum of 12 months from the beginning of the year in which they turn 18. Recruits could thus be 17 years old.6

Under the Law on Voluntary Military Service, Law No. 24.429, men and women must be aged between 18 and 24 to volunteer for military service. Recruits under the age of 21 must have parental permission to join.7

Military training and military schools

Several military schools provide training for officers and specialist armed forces training.8 The minimum age of enrolment in such schools is 17 for boys attending the navy's non-commissioned officers (NCOs) school, and 16 for boys and girls at the National Military College and the Military Air Force School.9 The minimum age of admission is 18 for commissioned officers and 16 for NCOs; there is no provision for them to participate in armed conflicts.10

Students in the last two years of military high school (liceo militar) receive military instruction as part of a general education, but no provision is made for their participation in armed conflicts.11 Military high schools are run by the armed forces and recognized by the Ministry of Education. In some schools cadets wear military uniforms or receive weapons training.12 Children may enrol from 11 or 12 years of age and must be no older than 15. Cadets may graduate as reserve second lieutenants (subtenientes de reserva) and go on to train as officers.

Since education reforms in 1994, military schools have been able to enrol girls and to offer nursery and primary schooling to children from as young as four or five.13

1 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The Military Balance 2003-2004, Oxford University Press, 2003.

2 José Baig, "Argentina debate servicio militar", BBC Mundo, 16 October 2002,

3 Rosario Gabino, "Argentina denuncian torturas", BBC Mundo, 16 January 2004.

4 Rosario Gabino, op. cit.

5 Ley de Servicio Militar, No.17.531, at Red de Seguridad y Defensa de América Latina (RESDAL), (Base de datos).

6 Ley del Servicio Militar Voluntario, No. 24.429, at RESDAL, op. cit.

7 Ley del Servicio Militar Voluntario, op. cit.

8 Ejército Argentino (Army), http://www.ejercito. (Educación); Armada Argentina (Navy), (Incorporación); Fuerza Aérea Argentina (Air force), (Incorporación y educación).

9 Escuela de Suboficiales de la Armada, at Armada Argentina, op. cit.; Colegio Militar de la Nación,; Escuela de Aviación Militar, at Fuerza Aérea Argentina, op. cit.

10 Comments by Argentina on the Report of the Working Group on a draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Commission on Human Rights, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1999/WG.13/2/Add.1, 8 December 1998,

11 Comments by Argentina, op. cit.

12 Liceo Naval Militar Almirante Brown, at Armada Argentina, op. cit.; Liceo Militar General San Martin, Liceo General Belgrano and others, at Ejército Argentino, op. cit.; Liceo Aeronautico Militar, at Fuerza Aérea Argentina, op. cit.

13 Liceo Militar General San Martin, op. cit.

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