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

  • Population:
    – total: 6,482,000
    – under-18s: 3,163,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 103,880
    – reserves: 35,000
    – paramilitary: 10,000 (+35,000 Civil Militia "People's Army" Reserves)
  • Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 17
  • Voting age (government elections): 19
  • Child soldiers: indicated in government armed forces
  • CRC-OP-CAC: signed on 6 September 2000; does not support "straight-18" position
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 138; ILO 182
  • There are indications of under-18s in government armed forces as voluntary recruitment is possible from the age of seventeen.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

Conscription first began in Jordan after an Israeli raid on a West Bank border village in 1966. The government issued an emergency conscription act whereby males were to be drafted for training and service with regular military units for periods of up to two years. This law became inoperative when the security situation in Jordan stabilised.1007

In 1976, another National Service Law was issued by royal decree, making all males over 18 liable for a 24 month military service. The new law allowed students to fulfil the compulsory two years of service after completing university studies or after reaching the age of 28. Exemptions were limited to only the sons and brothers of men who had died while in service, or to those who were physically unfit. Employment was prohibited for males of conscription age unless their call-up had been deferred as a result of sufficient numbers of recruits in the armed forces.

Conscription in Jordan was suspended in 1992.1008 However, conscription law has not officially been repealed, subsequently military service could be reintroduced.1009 Jordan accepts voluntary recruits from the age of 17 years.

Military Training and Military Schools

Students at military schools do not formally become members of the armed forces until they complete their studies. No information is available on minimum age entry requirements.

Child Involvement in Paramilitary Activities

In 1983 the Jordanian parliament approved a People's Army Law requiring male and female high school and college students, as well as males between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five who had not undergone military service, to become members of an auxiliary force called the People's Army. Women between the ages of sixteen and forty-five who were not students could volunteer for the programme. The People's Army was launched in order to augment the regular armed forces with a 200,000 strong people's militia comprising students and non-military civilians.1010 It has not in practice mobilised more than 35,000.1011 This civil militia is no longer believed to be operative.1012


International Standards

Jordan signed the CRC-OP-CAC in September 2000 but does not uphold a "straight-18" position.

Jordan hosted the Amman Conference on the Use of Children as Soldiers in the Middle East and North Africa Region from 8-10 April 2001.

1007 Helen Chapin Metz op. cit.

1008 Report of the Secretary General, UN doc. E/CN.4/1997/99 op. cit.

1009 Brett, Rachel and Derek, Conscientious Objection To Military Service. Quaker Peace and Service, Geneva, 94.

1010 "Jordan To Launch New Citizen Army. The Guardian, 23/7/87.

1011 Ibid; also IISS Military Balance, 1989-90.

1012 Horeman & Stolwijk op. cit.


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