Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Mongolia
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Publication Date||20 May 2008|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Mongolia, 20 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/486cb11bc.html [accessed 20 June 2013]|
Population: 2.6 million (998,000 under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 8,600
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 18
Voluntary Recruitment Age: unclear
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified 6 October 2004
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ICC
There were no records or monitoring of the age of recruits in the armed forces, which were largely conscripted. National legislation did not explicitly specify minimum ages for recruitment on a voluntary basis or in armed conflict.
In its report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2004 the government said it attached "special importance" to prompt assistance to children in difficult circumstances, which, under the Law on Protection of Child Rights, included those affected by armed conflict.1
The parliamentary National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia had a special brief to monitor children's rights, but the international human rights standards on its website did not include the Convention on the Rights of the Child or its Optional Protocol. Its annual reports monitored numerous Mongolian institutions but not the armed forces. No reason for this was given. As the procedure for raising an individual case with the Commission did not guarantee automatic and confidential transmission of complaints, complainants in closed institutions such as the military could have been deterred from registering complaints.
In its annual report for 2003 the National Human Rights Commission noted that in five out of six cases, Mongolia's reports to UN treaty bodies were overdue, and urged that drafting responsibilities be added to job descriptions in ministries. It found that national legislation was inconsistent with Mongolia's obligations under international treaties and that those obligations were only partially fulfilled. It singled out the Criminal Code, which still provided for use of the death penalty, which was outlawed by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, ratified by Mongolia in 2002. The Commission found that an "enormous volume" of executive orders and decrees were not centrally registered, let alone compiled and published. Many were inconsistent with national laws and international human rights principles. 2
National recruitment legislation and practice
Less than three per cent of the armed forces were estimated to be volunteers.3 According to Mongolia's 2004 report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, men aged 18-25 years were liable to compulsory military service of one year, under the Law on Citizens' Military Obligations and the Legal Status of the Military (Article 9), which set no minimum age for mobilization in time of conflict. There was no minimum legal age for joining the armed forces as a volunteer.4 However, Mongolia's declaration on ratification of the Optional Protocol stated that the minimum age for recruitment into military service was 18.5 It was not clear if that was a statement of accepted practice or if new legislation had been introduced to set a minimum age in law.
The use of minors as foreign mercenaries in armed conflicts was punishable by 10-15 years' imprisonment, as was training, financing or otherwise supporting them.6
Military training and military schools
There were reportedly no military schools for under-18s or any explicitly military patriotic training in the main education system. However, under-18s were permitted, at their own request and with parental permission, to study in the music school of the Military Academy, where in 2007 there were 18 children aged 15-17 reportedly enrolled.7
Mongolia ratified the Optional Protocol in October 2004, stating in its declaration that the minimum age for recruitment into military service was 18, that male citizens were obliged to do military service, but those with religious or moral objections could do alternative service.
1 Second periodic report of Mongolia to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/65/Add.32, 15 November 2004.
3 CIA, World Factbook 2007.
4 Second periodic report, above note 1.
5 Declaration on accession to the Optional Protocol, www2.ohchr.org.
6 Criminal Code, Article 303(2).
7 Confidential source.