Country report and updates: Malawi

Last revision: 29 Jul 1998
29 Jul 1998

1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

Malawi has no conscription. In situations of public emergency, every citizen aged 18 to 60 years may be called up for national service under the National Service Act (Cap. 12:02). [1]


Recruitment into the armed forces is on a voluntary basis.

The minimum legal recruitment age is 18. [3]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no legal provision for conscientious objection.

According to the government in 1980, "Once recruited, one may not object to being deployed on conscientious grounds as this is punishable under Section 39 of the Army Act (Cap. 12:01)." [1]

Those who, in situations of public emergency, are called up for national service, have no right to refuse to serve on the grounds of conscientious objection. [1]

3 Desertion


Apparently, disobeying military orders is punishable under Section 39 of the Army Act. [1]


No information available.

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are 5,000 strong - 0.05 percent of the population. [4]


[1] UN Commission on Human Rights 1980. Report by the Secretary-General. United Nations, Geneva. [2] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [3] Brett, R. & M. McCallin 1996. Children, the invisible soldiers. R├Ądda Barnen, Stockholm, Sweden. [4] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK.