Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Equatorial Guinea
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Equatorial Guinea, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/49880660c.html [accessed 29 November 2014]|
Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.
Population: 481,000 (241,000 under 18)
Government armed forces: 1,320
Compulsory recruitment age: Not known
Voluntary recruitment age: Not known
Voting age: 18
Optional Protocol: not signed
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ILO 138, ILO 182; ACRWC
Information was not available on the use of under-18s in the armed forces or on the minimum age for conscription or voluntary recruitment.
Peaceful political activity continued to be repressed, and government critics faced politically motivated arrests and torture. Between March and May 2002 more than 150 people were arrested, including former members of the armed forces and relatives of Felipe Ondó Obiang, leader of the Fuerza Demócrata Republicana (FDR), Republic Democratic Force, an unauthorized political party. They were reportedly tortured or ill-treated, and two died in custody. In May and June 2002, 67 people were convicted after an unfair trial of plotting against the security of the state and sentenced to long prison terms; Felipe Obiang was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. Only five of the group were released in an October 2002 amnesty.1
In March 2004, 15 foreign nationals were arrested on suspicion of being mercenaries and of plotting a coup, a capital offence. Their arrests were linked to the arrests of 64 suspected mercenaries in Zimbabwe two days earlier. Some were reported to have been severely tortured.2
National recruitment legislation
The constitution makes military service compulsory. However, it was not clear what, if any, laws regulated national service.3 There was no information on whether the armed forces conscripted anyone under the age of 18. Equatorial Guinea's initial report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 2004 made no reference to military service, conscription or voluntary recruitment.4
The Labour Act, which regulates child labour, states that the minimum age for admission to employment "which by its nature or owing to the conditions under which it is performed may place at risk the health, safety or morals of children shall be 16 years" (Article 1).5
In February 2003 Equatorial Guinea completed the process of ratification of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.6
1 Amnesty International Report 2003, http://web. amnesty.org/library/engindex.
2 Amnesty International (AI), Equatorial Guinea: Alleged mercenaries and opposition activists at grave risk of torture and death, 19 March 2004.
3 B. Horeman and M. Stolwijk, Refusing to Bear Arms: A World Survey of Conscription and Conscientious Objection to Military Service, War Resisters International, London, 1998, http://www.wri-irg.org/co/rtba; Civil and political rights, including the question of conscientious objection to military service, Report of the UN Secretary-General to UN Commission on Human Rights, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2000/55, 17 December 1999, http://www.ohchr.org.
4 Initial report of Equatorial Guinea to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/11/Add.26, 28 January 2004, http://www.ohchr.org.
5 Initial report of Equatorial Guinea to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, op. cit.
6 African Union, http://www.africa-union.org.