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

  • Population:
    – total: 167,988,000
    – under-18s: 59,861,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 287,600
    – reserves: 1,150,000
    – paramilitary: 385,600
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 19
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 17
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: signed on 6 September 2000; does not support the "straight-18" position
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC/API+II; ILO 182
  • There are indications of under-18s in government armed forces as the minimum age of voluntary recruitment is 17.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

The Constitution adopted in 1988 makes military service compulsory "as provided by law."272 Article 143 enables the armed forces to assigned alternative civil service during peacetime for conscientious objectors and also for women and clergymen who under Article 143(2) are exempt from service during peacetime.273 According to Law No.4.375 (17 Aug. 1964) all Brazilians are liable for military service (Article 2), which during peacetime begins on 1 January of the year a citizen turns 19 and expires on 31 December of the year the citizen turns 46 (Article 3). However, Article 5(1) stipulates that during war the minimum age limit can be amended "according to the interests of national defence." The minimum age for voluntary service is 17 (Article 5(2)).

Military service normally lasts 12 months, but may be extended or reduced to accommodate specific situations (Article 6). In specific situations (to avoid disruption of public order or during public disasters) Brazilians can be conscripted according to conditions laid down by the President of the Republic, regardless of whether they have performed military service (Article 19). According to the Brazilian military only a small proportion of registered youth actually perform their military service.274

Military Training and Military Schools

There are a number of military schools in Brazil. At the Escuela naval in Rio de Janeiro, applicants must be under 22 years of age, but no minimum age is indicated.275 At the Escola Preparatoria de Cadetes do Exercito, which prepares students who want to enter the Military Academy, students must be born before 31 December 1985 for those entering the school in 2000.


International Standards

Brazil signed the CRC-OP-CAC on 6 September 2000 but does not support a "straight-18" position.

272 Article 143.

273 According to Article 143, the armed forces shall have the power, as provided by law, to assign, in peacetime, alternative civil service. This service was created by Law No. 8.239 of 4 October 1991 (Lei de prestacao do servicio alternativo ao servico military obrigatorio) and governed by Regulation 2.681 of 28 July 1992.

274; according to the statistics provided by the military, in 1996 only 96,200 conscripts out of a total register of 1,377,900 18-year-olds were recruited.



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