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

  • Population:
    – total: 67,226,000
    – under-18s: 28,745,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 448,500
    – reserves: 254,000
    – paramilitary: 230,000 active
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: unknown
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: unknown in government armed forces; indicated in armed opposition groups
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 138
  • There are some indications of teenage involvement in armed opposition groups. There are not likely to be under-18s in government armed forces due to a surplus of candidates for military service.


The government faces Islamist opposition movements, which are known to target politicians, police and army officials, tourists and intellectuals. It responded to these threats in 1992-93 with widespread arrests and scores of executions. This led to a shift in strategy by opposition groups, including carrying out attacks abroad. In recent years, attacks against tourists in Egypt have again intensified. Authorities have responded by arresting, and in some cases executing, leaders of Islamist groups.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

According to article 58 of the 1980 Constitution, "Defence of the homeland and its territory is a sacred duty and conscription is compulsory, in accordance with the law." The minimum age for conscription is 18.640 The 1980 Military and National Service Act No. 127 regulates military service. Under this law all men between 18 and 30 years of age are liable for military service, which lasts for 3 years. Graduates serve for a period of 18 months.641 After completing military service, conscripts belong to the reserves for seven years.642 There is no available information on voluntary recruitment under 18. Egypt reportedly has surplus candidates for military service.

Military Training and Military Schools

There are six main military training centres, including the Military Academy, Heliopolis, Cairo; the Air Defence College; the Egyptian Naval College, Alexandria; the Military Technical College, Cairo; the Egyptian Air Academy, Belbais; and the Armed Forces Technical Institute.643 Entry requirements vary and some state that the applicant must have completed high school or have an undergraduate university degree. Many specify a maximum age limit of between 21 and 24 but no information is available on minimum age requirements.


  • Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group")644

This Islamist group has been active since the late 1970s with the aim of establishing an Islamic state. It mainly operates in southern Egypt with support from urban locations, particularly among unemployed graduates and students. The group has conducted attacks against tourists, governmental forces and Coptic Christians. The group has halted armed operations since 1997.645 A "teenage boy" was among 39 males brought to trial for membership of the al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya in November 1997.646

  • Al-Jihad al-Islami

This armed group first emerged in 1977 to establish an Islamic state through attacks targeting high-level Egyptian government officials.647 Since the mid-1990s al-Jihad has not claimed responsibility for any attacks. There is no evidence of child involvement in this group.


International Standards

In May 2001, the Egyptian Parliament approved unanimously most provisions of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, subject to Islamic law and Egyptian customs and traditions.648

640 Goodwin-Gill and Cohn op. cit.; Brett and McCallin op. cit.

641 Horeman and Stolwijk op. cit.; and Report of the Secretary-General, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/99, op. cit.

642 Report of secretary-General, UN doc. E/CN.4/2000/55 op. cit.


644 Balencie and de La Grange, op. cit.

645 AI Report 2000 and previous,; For general background see also AI, Egypt: Human Rights Abuses by Armed Groups (MDE 12/22/98); 9/98.

646 Brett and McCallin, op. cit.

647 The Longman Group, Revolutionary and Dissident Movements of The World, An International Guide, Third Edition, Essex, Longman Group, 1991, p.70-71.

648 Reuters, "Egypt approves child rights charter, rejects some clauses", 6 May 2001.


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