Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Mauritania
|Publisher||Child Soldiers International|
|Publication Date||20 May 2008|
|Cite as||Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Mauritania, 20 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/486cb1182d.html [accessed 21 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.|
Population: 3.1 million (1.5 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 15,900
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 18
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 18
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: not signed
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC
Although the government stated that all texts governing recruitment to the armed forces and police prohibited recruitment of under-18s, it was unclear whether the 1962 law providing for voluntary enlistment at 16 with parental consent had been abrogated.
National recruitment legislation and practice
The 1991 constitution stated that "Every citizen has the duty of protecting and safeguarding the independence of the country, its sovereignty and integrity of its territory" (Article 18). In its initial report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the government had stated that all texts governing recruitment to the armed forces and police prohibited recruitment of under-18s.1 However, the government did not identify the laws and regulations that prohibited recruitment under the age of 18, and it remained unclear whether the 1962 Law on the Recruitment for the Army, which provided for two years' compulsory service, was still in force or had ever been applied. It required every citizen aged 17 to register for military service and be medically examined and to have their cases considered by a review body, and provided that those aged 16 could enlist voluntarily with parental consent.2
In its concluding observations the Committee on the Rights of the Child urged Mauritania to ratify the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.3
In October 2007 Mauritania endorsed the Paris Commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines on children associated with armed forces or armed groups. The two documents, which were previously endorsed by 59 states at a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, reaffirmed international standards and operational principles for the protection of and assistance to child soldiers, following a wide-ranging global consultation jointly sponsored by the French government and UNICEF.
Mauritania ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child on 21 September 2005.4
1 Initial report of Mauritania to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.42, 18 January 2000.
2 Rachel Brett and Margaret McCallin, Children: The Invisible Soldiers, Rädda Barnen (Save the Children – Sweden), Stockholm, 1998.
3 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by Mauritania, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.159, 6 November 2001.