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

  • Population:
    – total: 7,360,000
    – under-18s: 3,770,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 9,700
    – paramilitary: 2,600
  • Compulsory recruitment age: 18
  • Voluntary recruitment age: unknown
  • Voting age (government elections): 18
  • Child soldiers: unknown
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: ACRWC; CRC; GC/API+II; ICC
  • It is not known whether there are under-18s in government armed forces due to insufficient information on voluntary recruitment age.


Guinea faces insecurity due to events in neighbouring countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to the UNHCR there are some 400,000 refugees from these countries in Guinea. Their presence has increased economic strain as well as ethnic tension and cross border attacks. A number of armed groups, mainly the RUF from Sierra Leone, and the ULIMO and NPFL from Liberia, use Guinea as a rearguard military base while committing atrocities against refugees and Guinean civilians.

In October 2000 the Guinean interior minister announced that Guinea was effectively in a state of war due to a series of attacks in border areas by RUF fighters and Liberian security forces, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Guinean civilians as well as massive displacement of Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees. Guinean armed forces have also committed human rights abuses against the refugees, who are often blamed for the attacks. The Guinean military also launched counter attacks in rebel-held areas of northern Sierra Leone, in which thousands of Sierra Leonean civilians were killed and displaced between September and February 2001.784 The deployment of an ECOWAS border monitoring force, delayed by the upsurge in fighting, was finally agreed in January 2001, with troops supplied by Nigeria, Mali, Senegal and Niger.785

Guinea currently contributes several hundred troops to peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone and Western Sahara. In June 1998 Guinea also sent troops to Guinea-Bissau to help the government resist an attempted coup.


National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

According to Article 1 of Order No. 072/PRG/SGG/90 of 25 July 1990, all Guinean citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 may be called to army service for 18 months.786 The rate of recruitment is 95 per cent among men and 5 per cent among women.787 There is no information about the minimum age for voluntary recruitment.

Child recruitment

There is no evidence of underage recruitment in Guinea. However, the detention and ill-treatment of refugees in early September 2000 was reportedly committed by Guinean authorities and "militant youths".788 The age of these youths is not known, nor whether they were civilians or armed forces members.

In 1999 the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its concern at the insufficient birth registration practices and lack of awareness of registration procedures in Guinea.789 Such deficiencies could potentially pose the risk of underage military recruitment.


Special programmes

In March 2001, UNHCR announced it would begin training local military and civilian administrators in Guinea on human rights and issues related to children and gender. The workshop will involve members of the Guinean military, police and gendarmerie.790

784 HRW "Guinean Forces Kill, Wound Civilians in Sierra Leone.

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

786 Report of the Secretary-General, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/99 op. cit. Other sources including the IISS state that military service lasts 24 months.

787 Initial Report of Guinea to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/Add.48, 17/6/97, para. 16.

788 IRIN-West Africa Weekly Roundup 37, "Guinea: Sierra Leonean, Liberian refugees flee harassment", 9-15/9/00.

789 Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the child: Guinea. UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.100, 10/5/99. Para. 19.

790 IRIN-West Africa Update 925, "Guinea: Rights training for military, administrators", 7/3/01.


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