Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.

  • Population:
    – total: 3,933,000
    – under-18s: 1,532,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: Nil
    – paramilitary: 8,400
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: signed on 7 September 2000; supports "straight-18" position
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 138
  • There are no indications of under-18s in government armed forces.


National Recruitment Legislation

The armed forces were abolished by the 1949 Constitution. Article 12 states that "the army as a permanent institution is proscribed. For vigilance and the preservation of public order, there will be the necessary police forces." The Constitution further provides for the introduction of both armed forces and military service when deemed necessary. Indeed, "only through continental agreement or for the national defence may military forces be organised; in either case they shall always be subordinate to the civil power." Article 147 states that the Council of Government (President of the Republic and Ministers) "requests from the National Assembly a declaration of a state of national defence and authorisation to order military recruitment, organise the army and negotiate peace."


International Standards

Costa Rica signed the CRC-OP-CAC on 7 September 2000 and supports a "straight-18" position.


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