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

  • Population:
    – total: 786,000
    – under-18s: 319,000
  • Government armed forces:
    – active: 3,500
    – reserves: 6,000
  • Compulsory recruitment age: no conscription
  • Voluntary recruitment age: 18
  • Child Soldiers: none indicated
  • CRC-OP-CAC: not signed
  • Other treaties ratified: CRC; GC
  • There are no indications of under-18s in the armed forces.

CONTEXT

Political disturbances followed an attempted coup in May 2000 by Fijian nationalists led by George Speight, although there were no reports of the involvement of children. After the group released hostage parliamentarians, Speight and other leaders were arrested and put on trial and an interim government established. In March 2001 Fiji's court of appeal held the interim government illegal and parties continued to manoeuvre towards a new election.

GOVERNMENT

National Recruitment Legislation and Practice

There is no conscription in Fiji.699 According to information given by the Fiji government to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a person must be at least 18 years of age to be recruited into the army.700 The Fiji Military Forces, a small professional army, comes under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs, as do the police.701 There is no evidence of underage recruitment.

Fijians may also be recruited into the British Army. Up to 3,000 Fijians have apparently applied to join, and some have been sent to Britain for the selection. As Commonwealth citizens, Fijians will receive the same pay and conditions as domestic recruits.702

The Fiji Military Forces are involved in UN peacekeeping duties in East Timor (UNTAET), Egypt (MFO), Iraq/Kuwait (UNIKOM) and Lebanon (UNIFIL). One infantry battalion is serving with the Peace Monitoring Group on Bougainville.703


699 Brett and McCallin op. cit.

700 Initial Report of Fiji submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Doc. CRC/C/28/Add.7, 24/9/96, para. 28.; this information has been confirmed by UNICEF, 19/8/99.

701 US State Department, Human Rights Report 1998.

702 "Fiji Minister's complaint over army recruitment offends British High Commission", BBC Monitoring Service, 28/1/00; "The south pacific islanders hoping to prop up the army", Daily Mail, 14/12/99; "Fiji candidates to travel to Britain for final army selection trials", BBC Monitoring Service, 26/1/00.

703 See http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko.

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