Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict
States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.
States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.
by Lothar Krappmann (member, Committee on the Rights of the Child)
The Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomes initiatives of State Parties, which ensure that also volunteers to military service are admitted at the age of 18 only. If volunteers under 18 are admitted to military service, the Committee considers necessary to make sure that the decision is definitely free and not manipulated by one-sided advertising or exploitation of exigencies. Parental consent to any contract is indispensable. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that young people, who join the military forces before their 18th birthday, can revise their decision without punishment and disadvantage when they attain majority. The Committee is concerned at information that schools and students were put under pressure to participate at recruitment campaigns. In this regard the decision of students, parents and schools has to be fully respected.