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Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Albania

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 - Albania, 2004, available at: [accessed 29 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.

Republic of Albania

Covers the period from April 2001 to March 2004.

Population: 3.1 million (1.1 million under 18)
Government armed forces: 22,000 (estimate)
Compulsory recruitment age: 19
Voluntary recruitment age: 18
Voting age: 18
Optional Protocol: not signed
Other treaties ratified (see glossary): CRC, GC AP I and II, ICC, ILO 138, ILO 182

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


One of the poorest countries in Europe, Albania continued to suffer from weak government, widespread corruption, high unemployment and little public confidence in the independence of the judiciary. Violent organized crime was widespread and persistent. Detainees, including children, were frequently ill-treated and sometimes tortured during arrest and in police custody, where detention conditions were often poor, with severe overcrowding. Some police officers were dismissed or suspended, and in a few cases prosecuted and convicted, after allegations of ill-treatment were made against them.1


National recruitment legislation and practice

According to the constitution, "Albanian citizens have [a] duty to participate in the defence of the Republic of Albania, as provided by law" (Article 166). In a state of war or emergency, the President may decree extraordinary measures (Article 170).2

In its initial report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the government said that the minimum age for conscription was 19, under the 1991 Law No. 7527 on Military Service in the Armed Forces, as amended.3 Conscripts must serve for 12 months and exemptions are permitted on the grounds of ill health, although are reportedly difficult to obtain in practice. Higher education students may postpone their service until completion of their studies.4

In May 2003, President Alfred Moisiu vetoed an amendment to the Law on Military Service that would have exempted students from service if they completed their higher education by 31 December 2005, on the grounds that it violated constitutional guarantees of equality before the law.5 Subsequently an amendment was approved that required graduates to complete one month of compulsory military service.6 The minimum age for voluntary service in the armed forces is 18.7

Military training and military schools

Albania has an Academy of Defence and a Defence University, which itself has four constituent academies for non-commissioned officers and for the air, naval and land services.8 The minimum entrance age is 18 in accordance with the minimum age for voluntary military service. There is no military or patriotic training within the general education system, and no dedicated military educational establishment for under-18s or youth organizations with a military orientation.9 In schools, students take classes in citizenship and, following the violence and upheaval of the 1990s, in peace studies.10

1 Amnesty International Reports 2002, 2003 and 2004,

2 Constitution,

3 Also known as the Law on Compulsory Military Service. Initial report of Albania to UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/11/Add.27, (to be considered by the Committee in January 2005).

4 Immigration and Nationality Directorate, United Kingdom (UK) Home Office, Republic of Albania Country Report, April 2004, http://www.ind.

5 Southeast European Times quoting Albanian Daily News, Shekulli, 20 May 2003,

6 Albanian Radio, "Albanian parliament approves amended law on military service", 10 July 2003, reported in South East European Security Monitor, Centre for South East European Studies, (SEE Security Monitor).

7 Communication from embassy of Albania, London, June 2004.

8 Ministry of Defence, (Military Education).

9 Communication from embassy of Albania, op. cit.

10 Centre for the Study of Balkan Societies and Cultures, Education and Media in South East Europe, 1999,

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