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

  • Population:
    – total: 10,960,000
    – under-18s: 5,868,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 7,350
    – paramilitary: 4,800
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: signed on 8 September 2000; supports "straight-18" position
  • Other treaties ratified: ACRWC; CRC; GC/API+II; ICC; ILO 182
  • There are no indications of under-18s in government armed forces.


Mali contributes troops to ECOWAS peace monitoring missions. In February 1999, Mali sent 488 peacekeepers to Sierra Leone as part of the ECOMOG forces.1182 In December 2000 Mali committed 50 troops to ECOWAS forces guarding the border between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.1183


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

Article 22 of the Constitution of Mali states that "Defense of the homeland is a duty of every citizen."1184 Conscription is selective but military service is voluntary in principle.1185 Under the 'Statut général des militaires' the minimum age for both compulsory and voluntary recruitment is 18 and the maximum age is 22.1186 Service lasts 24 months.1187

Military Training and Military Schools

There is no evidence of underage recruitment in Mali.1188 There are several military schools, including two in Koulikoro (State School at Koulikoro, and School of Military Administration), and one in Kati.1189 Official sources claim the minimum entry age in military schools is 18.1190


International Standards

Mali signed the CRC-OP-CAC on 8 September 2000 and supports the "straight-18" position. At the ECOWAS summit held in Mali in December 2000, Mali condemned the use of children in conflicts and encouraged other countries to ratify international treaties that allow the prosecution of those deploying child soldiers.1191 Mali strongly championed international efforts to stop the use of child soldiers during its membership of the UN Security Council in 2000.1192

1182 "A Malian Contingent expected Thursday in Freetown", Panafrican News Agency, 11/2/99.

1183 UN IRIN, "ECOMOG capable of defending border, ECOWAS head says", 24/1/01.

1184 Text at:

1185 Report of the Secretary-General, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/99,op. cit.

1186 Initial Report of Mali to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/3/Add.53, 8/9/97, para. 32; letter from the Malian Embassy in Germany to CSC, 21/1/99.

1187 IISS, Military Balance 97/98 op. cit.

1188 Information supplied by UNICEF.

1189 Website of the French Ministry of Defense, at; and Les Ecoles en France et dans le Monde, at

1190 Malian Embassy in Germany op. cit.

1191 AFP, "ECOWAS summit opens in Mali", 15/12/00.

1192 Annex to the Chair's Statement at the International Conference on War-Affected Children, Winnipeg, Canada, 9/00.


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