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

  • Population:
    – total: 19,286,000
    – under-18s: 9,893,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 5,100
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: unknown
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: ACRWC; CRC; GC/API
  • Mozambique supported a "straight-18" ban on military recruitment during negotiations on the Optional Protocol. Mozambican law allows conscription from the age of 18 but this age limit may be lowered during times of war. Many thousands of children were used as soldiers in the past war between Frelimo and Renamo. There are concerns that former child soldiers, now of draft age, may be liable for compulsory military service again.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

Conscription, previously in operation in the country, was abolished following the 1992 peace agreement between the Government and the armed opposition group RENAMO.1244 This situation changed once again when a new law governing conscription was adopted in 1997. RENAMO voted against the law arguing that Mozambique did not have the financial means for conscription and that it ran counter to the peace agreement which envisaged the formation of a 30,000 strong Mozambique Armed Defence Force, composed of demobilised forces of the government forces and RENAMO. According to the head of the RENAMO parliamentary group, the new law is a carbon copy of the old Portuguese law on military service previously in force in Mozambique.1245 According to Article 2 of this law: "1. All Mozambican citizens between the age of 18 and 35 years are subject to compulsory military service and to comply with the military obligations that derive from it. 2. In time of war, the above established ages for the accomplishment of the military obligations may be changed by law."

Military Training and Military Schools

There is one military school based in the northern province of Nampula. The minimum educational requirement is the 10th grade.1246

Past Child Recruitment and Deployment

There is no armed conflict in Mozambique and no current evidence of underage recruitment. In the former war between Frelimo and Renamo, many thousands of children were used as soldiers.



A specific problem has arisen with the possible drafting of former child soldiers from the civil war into military service based on the new law adopted in 1998. Many of these youths are now of draft age and are vulnerable to military service again because their prior service was not recognised by a demobilisation certificate.1247 However, the government of Mozambique has set up a technical/administrative mechanism during the classification and selection tests, one of the phases in military recruitment, to identify citizens who suffer from various forms of trauma. "This mechanism consists in questioning citizens as to their involvement in armed conflict. If the answer is affirmative, and since, for obvious reasons, they cannot present any document proving this, they are submitted to detailed observation to ascertain whether or not they are suffering from trauma. If there are indications to this effect, the citizen concerned is then declared as psychologically/physically unfit for military service".1248

International Standards

Mozambique ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1998 and supported a "straight-18" ban on all forms of military recruitment during the negotiations on the CRC-OP-CAC. At the time of publication, however, Mozambique had not yet signed the CRC-OP-CAC.

Mozambique hosted the African Conference on the Use of Children as Soldiers in Maputo in April 1999.

1244 Law No. 24/97 of 23/12/97.

1245 These laws were Law No. 4/78 – Lei do servicio militar obrigatotio, and Decree No. 3/86 – Regulamento basico do militar nas forces armadas de Moçambique. Mozambican Assembly approves conscription, Renamo walks out", Panafrican News Agency, 3/11/97.

1246 Information supplied by World Vision International.

1247 Letter from the International Forum for Child Welfare addressed to Diplomatic Missions of the Republic of Mozambique, 10/98.

1248 Document of the Government of Mozambique, "Social re-integration of children involved in armed conflict: the Mozambican experience", Conference on the Use of Children as Soldiers in Africa, 19-22 April 1999, Maputo.


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