Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Egypt

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 20 May 2008
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Egypt, 20 May 2008, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
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.

Population: 74.0 million (29.7 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 468,500
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 18
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 16
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: acceded 6 February 2007
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC

Military service remained compulsory for men aged between 18 and 30, and the minimum age for voluntary recruitment remained 16.


In April 2006 the government renewed for an additional two years the Emergency Law (Law No. 162 of 1958), which allowed for the trial of civilians before military and state security courts.1 New armed political groups emerged, such as the Tawhid wa-l-Jihad (Unity and Holy War), accused by the government of being responsible for bombings in the Sinai Peninsula which left hundreds of civilians killed and injured between 2004 and 2006.2 Members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), which renounced violence in late 1997, were reported to have forged links with al-Qaeda in 2006, although this was denied by its leadership.3 There were no reports of under-18s in these groups.


National recruitment legislation and practice

Major constitutional amendments in March 2007 did not affect military service, which, in accordance with Article 58 of the constitution and Article 1 of the 1980 Military and National Service Act, remained compulsory for men aged between 18 and 30. Standard military service lasted three years; lesser terms were stipulated for those with certain types of education, such as higher education graduates.

The minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces remained 16. In its declaration on accession to the Optional Protocol in February 2007, the government stated that "in accordance with its current laws the minimum age for conscription into the armed forces of Egypt is 18 years and the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces is 16 years. The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to ensuring that voluntary recruitment is genuine and entirely willing, with the informed consent of the parents or legal guardians after the volunteers have been fully informed of the duties included in such voluntary military service and based on reliable evidence of the age of volunteers."4

Military training and military schools

Military training for recent secondary school graduates was provided in some military academies, such as the Air Defence Academy and the Egyptian Naval College in Alexandria, the Egyptian Air Academy in the Sharqiya Governorate and the Armed Forces Technical Institute.5 Children aged between 11 and 15 could be accepted in certain military schools provided that they had completed their primary school education.6


In December 2005 police violently dispersed more than 2,500 Sudanese refugees and migrants who had been staging a peaceful sit-in near the office of the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Cairo since the previous September. As a result, at least 27 Sudanese nationals, including several children, were killed and others were injured.7

International standards

Egypt acceded to the Optional Protocol on 6 February 2007.8

1 "Egypt", Human Rights Watch World Report 2008.

2 International Crisis Group, "Egypt's Sinai Question", 30 January 2007,

3 "Egyptian group denies Al-Qaeda tie-up", Al-Jazeera, 11 August 2006,

4 Declaration on accession to Optional Protocol,

5 Egyptian armed forces website,

6 Law 122 (1982) on Establishing Elementary Technical Military Schools, Article 14.

7 "Egypt", Amnesty International Report 2007; "Egypt must probe Cairo violence", BBC News, 31 December 2005.

8 See

Search Refworld