Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Belarus
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Belarus, 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4988061128.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This 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.|
REPUBLIC OF BELARUS
Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.
– total: 10,274,000
– under-18s: 2,479,000
- Government armed forces:
– active: 83,100
– reserves: 289,500
– paramilitary: 110,000
- Compulsory recruitment age: 18
- Voluntary recruitment age: unknown
- Voting age (government elections): 18
- Child soldiers: unknown
- CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
- Other ratified treaties: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 182
- It is not known if there are under-18s in government armed forces due to insufficient information regarding minimum voluntary recruitment age. The direct participation of children in armed conflict is prohibited in military law.
National Recruitment Legislation and Practice
Article 57 of the Belarus Constitution states: "1.It shall be the responsibility and sacred duty of every citizen of the Republic of Belarus to defend the Republic of Belarus. 2. The procedure governing military service, the grounds and conditions for exemption from military service, and the substitution thereof by alternative service shall be determined by law."
Article 14 of the Universal Military Duty and Military Service Act of October 1992 establishes 18 as the minimum age for conscription. The Belorussian armed forces are still largely a conscript army, with approximately half of its troops being conscripts. The length of military service is 18 months for high school graduates and 12 months for university graduates. The Belarus Coalition to Ban the Use of Child Soldiers has not received any reports of underage recruitment.
Article 29 of the Rights of the Child Act prohibits child participation in armed conflict, as well as the establishment of children's military organizations or units of propaganda among children about war and violence.197
Military Training and Military Schools
It is possible to enter military school on a voluntary basis at the age of 17.198 The so-called "Suvorov" military school still exists in Belarus, financed by the Ministry of Defence. The minimum age for admission is 12. According to the Belarus Ministry of Defence, students do not receive a military education although they are provided with some instruction in military issues and wear uniforms. Students are not members of the armed forces and are not liable to deployment in an armed conflict. The years spent by students in the school do not affect the length of their conscription after they reach the age of 18. Graduates are free to enter any university, including military colleges.199
197 Initial Report of Belarus submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.14, 29 June 1993, para. 122.
198 Information provided by the Belarus Coalition to Ban the Use of Child Soldiers.