Population: 7.2 million (3.3 million under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 12,000
Compulsary Recruitment Age: no conscription in peacetime (see text)
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 18
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: acceded 14 August 2002
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC

There were no reports of under-18s in the armed forces.


An estimated 36,000 individuals were members of gangs (maras).1 In 2004 and 2005 over 800 children and youths were killed, many of them street children.2 The Special Attorney for Human Rights stated in April 2007 that members of the police and armed forces had reportedly been involved in 360 such killings over nine years.3

Longer periods of detention without charge and tougher penalties were introduced for leaders of gangs.4 In December 2006 the UN Human Rights Committee called on Honduras to amend the definition of the offence of "unlawful association" in the Criminal Code to be more restrictive, as it was often used by the police to arrest adolescents on suspicion, including in mass round-ups based on appearance alone and without judicial warrant.5

In September 2006 the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in a case relating to the extrajudicial execution of four youths in 1995, ordered Honduras to establish a child rights training program for police and other officials.6


National recruitment legislation and practice

Under Article 276 of the constitution military service was compulsory in times of conflict for all Hondurans "capable of serving". The constitution also provided for compulsory peacetime military service for all Hondurans aged 18-30, but this was modified by a 1994 decree making peacetime military service voluntary.7

Military training and military schools

Several military schools and academies provided training for cadets and officers.8 Graduates from the Liceo Militar del Norte, a military secondary-school in San Pedro Sula, were considered to be officers and given priority to enter officer training academies. The Liceo Militar del Norte also maintained a primary-school.9

The Centre for Naval Studies offered technical and specialized courses for officers.10 Under-18s wishing to enter the Military Aviation Academy as pilot cadets or technical students had to have parental authorization, signed by a lawyer.11 The Honduras Defence University and the National Defence College offered degrees in military, air and naval sciences, and defence and security.12


The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Honduras pay more attention to social factors and root causes of the gang problem and focus on preventive measures, refraining from treating the issue exclusively in a punitive and repressive way.13

1 "El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala, los más violentos del Istmo", Prensa Libre (Guatemala), 27 April 2007, www.prensalibre.com.

2 Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, Informe al Congreso Nacional, Año 2004, "Seguridad y Justicia", 8 March 2005, www.conadeh.hn; Amnesty International Report 2005 and 2006.

3 "Fiscalía involucra a policía en asesinatos en Honduras", El Nuevo Herald (Miami), 25 April 2007, www.elnuevoherald.com.

4 Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL), "Honduras es denunciada por su política anti pandillas", 19 October 2005, www.cejil.org.

5 UN Human Rights Committee, Consideration of initial report submitted by Honduras, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CCPR/C/HND/CO/1, 13 December 2006.

6 CEJIL, "Nueva condena internacional contra Honduras", 23 October 2006; Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of Servellón-García et al. v. Honduras, Judgment of 21 September 2006, Series C, No. 152, www.corteidh.or.cr.

7 Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Programa Seguridad y Ciudadanía, Reporte del Sector Seguridad en América Latina y el Caribe, Informe Nacional: Honduras, October 2006, www.flacso.cl.

8 Ejército de Honduras, Centros de Estudio, at Fuerzas Armadas de Honduras, www.ffaah.mil.hn.

9 Ejército de Honduras, Centros de Estudio, Liceo Militar del Norte, www.ffaah.mil.hn.

10 Centro de Estudios Navales, www.ffaah.mil.hn.

11 Academia Militar de Aviación, Documentos, www.academiamilfah.com.

12 Universidad de Defensa and Colegio de Defensa Nacional, www.ffaah.mil.hn.

13 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of third periodic report submitted by Honduras, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/HND/CO/3, 2 February 2007.


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