Population: 81,000 (27,000 under 18)
Government Armed Forces: 170
Compulsary Recruitment Age: no conscription (see text)
Voluntary Recruitment Age: 18
Voting Age: 18
Optional Protocol: not signed
Other Treaties: GC AP I, GC AP II, CRC, ILO 138, ILO 182, ICC

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


National recruitment legislation and practice

There was no conscription into the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, and no legal basis for compulsory military service during states of emergency.1 Under the 1981 Defence Act, nobody under the age of 18 could be enlisted into the regular armed forces, but the Governor-General had powers to call up men for national service and to set the age at which they could be called up.2 The 1981 Act was amended by the Defence Act 2003, No. 10 of 2006.3

Military training and military schools

The armed forces managed National Cadet Corps units in secondary-schools, providing physical training, basic military skills, discipline and academic and technical guidance, and promoting national service and patriotism. The government announced in September 2006 that it was considering making enrolment in the corps compulsory for every student in the first and second years of secondary-school.4


In November 2004 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Antigua and Barbuda ratify the Optional Protocol.5

1 1967 Emergency Powers Act, Chapter 147, www.laws.gov.ag.

2 1981 Defence Act, Chapter 132, Sections 15(2) and 161.

3 International Labour Organization, www.ilo.org/ (natlex database).

4 Prime Minister W. Baldwin Spencer, speech at the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force 25th Anniversary Banquet, 2 September 2006, www.antigua.gov.ag.

5 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of initial report submitted by Antigua and Barbuda, Concluding observations, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.247, 3 November 2004.


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