Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Benin
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Benin, 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/49880610c.html [accessed 23 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 BENIN
Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.
– total: 5,937,000
– under-18s: 3,175,000
- Government armed forces:
– active: 4,750
– paramilitary: 2,500
- Compulsory recruitment age: 21
- Voluntary recruitment age: 21
- Voting age (government elections): 18
- Child soldiers: none indicated
- CRC-OP-CAC: signed on 22 February 2001; supports "straight-18" position
- Other treaties ratified: ACRWC; CRC; GC/API+II
- There are no indications of under-18s in government armed forces.
National Recruitment Legislation and Practice
Recruitment in Benin is governed by Law no. 63-5 of 30 May 1963, as amended by Ordinance no. 75-77 of 28 November 1975. According to Benin's report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 21 is the minimum age for enlistment in the army, either as a volunteer or as a conscript.219 Conscription is selective and lasts 18 months.220 About 800 to 1,000 persons are conscripted each year.221
It appears that in practice volunteers may be accepted into the armed forces at age 18.222 According to UNICEF there is no underage recruitment into the Benin armed forces. The government has also maintained that it does not recruit under-18s.223
Military Training and Military Schools
There are two military schools which educate children beginning at the age of 13. These are the "Centre National d'Instruction des Forces Armées" and the "Prytanée Militaire" of Bembereke. Children in these schools are not members of the armed forces, but are encouraged to pursue a military career after graduation, typically at age 19 or 20.224
The Prytanée Militaire, established in 1982, is under the supervision of both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Defence. Each year the Prytanée Militaire selects between 30 and 35 of the brightest children from all districts of the country. They receive the same academic education as pupils in other schools but in addition are given military, moral and civic instruction. The director of studies is a civilian teacher but the head of the school is a military officer.225
Benin also has two training centres for officers, one in Porto Noveo and the other in Ouidah. The minimum age for entry these schools is 18.226
Benin signed the CRC-OP-CAC on 22 February 2001 and supports a "straight-18" position.
219 Benin : Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 4/7/97, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.52, para. 54. 220Civil and political rights, including the question of: conscientious objection to military service, Report of the Secretary-General submitted pursuant to Commission resolution 1998/77. E/CN.4/2000/55, 17/12/99; IISS, The Military Balance 1998.
221 Information provided by DCI Benin.
222 Information obtained by the Swedish Consulate in Porto Novo; UNICEF; and DCI-Benin.
223 Letter from the Ambassador of Benin in Brussels to the CSC, Brussels, 10/12/98.
224 Swedish Consulate in Porto Novo op. cit.
225 UNICEF; DCI Benin op. cit.
226 DCI Benin op. cit.