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

Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Hungary

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2001
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Hungary, 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: 10,076,000
    – under-18s: 2,123,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 43,790
    – reserves: 90.300
    – paramilitary: 14,000
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 17; at 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Voting age in government elections: 18
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 138; ILO 182
  • There are no indications of under-18s in government armed forces. Students at military schools are not considered part of the armed services until they have reached the age of eighteen.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

Article 70-H of the 1949 Constitution states: "(1) All citizens of the Republic of Hungary have the duty to defend the homeland. (2) Subject to their general defence obligation, citizens are expected to undergo military service, armed or unarmed, or civil service on terms specified in the law."835 The present legal basis of conscription is the 1993 National Defence Law (amended in 1997).836

The law on National Defence provides for the general registration for conscription by all males from the age 17 who are citizens and residents of Hungary, but military service before the age of 18 years is not permissible. The Permanent Mission of Hungary has stated that "Military service is compulsory for men in Hungary from the age of 18".837 The minimum age for volunteers is also 18, "though volunteers are accepted only after completion of the compulsory service", thus "the age for voluntary military service is 19 in practice".838

Between 6,000 and 7,000 young men are enrolled four times a year for a period of nine months. Only about 50% of liable conscripts are actually recruited. The Hungarian armed forces are being reduced and transformed into a professional army.839 The abolition of conscription is an eventual goal and there has been considerable public support for this.840

Military Training and Military Schools

In November 1997 a new system of training was introduced, under which conscripts spend the first three months of military service at two national training centres, receiving basic and individual training, followed by platoon, company and battalion training. The training of Hungarian career soldiers also takes place in military colleges in other Western countries.841 The government plans to establish a new training institution from August 2001.842 Students at military schools are only considered members of the armed forces after they have reached the age of eighteen.843

Child Recruitment and Deployment

According to information provided by the Hungarian government " There is no distinction between the age of recruitment and the age of participation in hostilities. It is to be stressed, however, that only volunteers can be deployed in zones of danger, i.e. peacekeeping operations."844


836 Horeman and Stolwijk op. cit.


838 Communication from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Hungary to the United Nations sent to QUNO, 9/12/97.

839'307 , Hungarian Ministry of Defence.

840 RFE/RL Newsline 20/1/00, Hungarian Opposition Party Launches Anti-Conscription Drive.


842 Hungarian Ministry of Defence website op. cit.

843 Permanent Mission of Hungary, 9/12/97, op. cit.

844 Ibid.

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