Switzerland to push for minimum age for soldiers

Switzerland is to demand the outlawing of child soldiers, at a United Nations meeting in Geneva on Monday. The foreign ministry says its key demand will be the implementation of a minimum recruiting age of 18 for service in armed forces.

This content was published on January 9, 2000 - 17:34

Switzerland is to demand the outlawing of child soldiers, at a United Nations meeting in Geneva on Monday. The foreign ministry says its key demand will be the implementation of a minimum recruiting age of 18 for service in armed forces.

The UN meeting, which runs until January 21, aims to add further protections for children to the Convention of the rights of the child. Switzerland intends to try and push through sweeping new rules to safeguard children at risk of being forced to take up arms.

Switzerland is supporting a group of non-governmental organisations, which want to prevent armies recruiting children.

Currently, an estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18 are actively involved in conflicts around the globe.

International law stipulates that children must be at least 15 years of age before they can be drafted into the armed forces.

Industrialised countries which recruit soldiers younger than 18 include the United States, Britain, Germany and Austria.

From staff and wire reports

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