Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Mali

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 20 May 2008
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 - Mali, 20 May 2008, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
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: 13.5 million (7.4 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 7,400
Compulsary Recruitment Age: 18
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 18
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: ratified 16 May 2002
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ACRWC, ICC

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


At least 11 people were reported to have been killed, some by landmines, following attacks in northern Mali in August 2007 attributed to armed militias led by a leader of a former armed Touareg group.1 A number of soldiers as well as a team conducting a survey of the incidence of locusts in the area were kidnapped.2


National recruitment legislation and practice

The constitution stated that "Defence of the country is a duty of every citizen" (Article 22). There was no evidence of under-18s in the armed forces. Mali's declaration on ratification of the Optional Protocol in June 2002 stated that no one under 18 could be recruited, even voluntarily, or enrolled as a member of the armed forces, that the criminal law would be applied against anyone breaching this provision, and that children unlawfully recruited into the armed forces could, depending on their individual circumstances, receive support for their economic and social rehabilitation and reintegration.3 In 2006 the government stated to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that the minimum age for voluntary enrolment in the armed forces and for conscription was 18, and that under Article 17 of the Child Protection Code it was forbidden to cause under-18s to participate in or to involve them in armed conflicts or to enrol them in the armed forces or groups.4


The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called for the necessary measures to be put in place to implement fully ILO Conventions 138 and 182, and for the Child Protection Code to be fully implemented.5

At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, Mali and 58 other states 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 documents reaffirmed international standards and operational principles for protecting and assisting child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging global consultation jointly sponsored by the French government and UNICEF.

1 "Mali: Indignation dominates reaction as attacks in north escalate", IRIN, 31 August 2007,

2 "Mali-Niger: insecurity halts locust monitoring but threat deemed low – FAO", IRIN, 17 September 2007.

3 Declaration on accession to the Optional Protocol,

4 Second periodic report of Mali to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/MLI/2, 11 April 2006.

5 Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of report submitted by Mali, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/MLI/CO/2, 2 February 2007.

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