Country report and updates: Dominican Republic

Last revision: 30 Apr 1998
30 Apr 1998

1 Conscription

Conscription is enshrined in sect. II art. 9(b) of the Constitution, which states: "Every able-bodied Dominican citizen shall perform such civilian and military service as may be required by the country to ensure its defence and preservation." [1]

It is not clear if conscription is actually enforced.

The government stated in 1989 that it does not consider military service to be among the duties of its citizens. [2]

Several other sources also state that there is no conscription. [1] [6]

However, according to some other sources there is conscription. [4] [7]


Voluntary enlistment usually achieves the requisite number of recruits. Most enlisted troops are drawn from the middle and lower middle classes, mainly from rural areas. As the pay and conditions of service compare well with those of civilian jobs, the army is seen by many as a good career opportunity. [1]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no legal provision for conscientious objection. [4]

3 Desertion

No information available.

5 History

There has been conscription in the past. Under the 1947 Compulsory Military Training Act all men aged 17 to 55 were liable to a year's military service. Selection of the necessary conscripts took place by ballot. There were no provisions for the right to conscientious objection. In 1961 this law was abrogated. [3]

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces comprise 24,500 troops - approximately 0.31 percent of the population.



[1] US Library of Congress 1989 Dominican Republic - a country report. Area Handbooks, State Department, Washington DC. [2] UN Commission on Human Rights 1991. Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1989/59. United Nations, Geneva. [3] Prasad, D., T. Smythe 1968. Conscription: a world survey, compulsory military service and resistance to it. War Resisters' International, London. [4] Toney, R.J. 1996. Military Service, Alternative Social Service, and Conscientious Objection in the Americas: A Brief Survey of Selected Countries. NISBCO, Washington DC. [5] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London. [6] Amnesty International 1991. Conscientious objection to military service, AI. London. [7] Brett, Rachel and Margaret McCallin 1996. Children: The invisible soldiers. R├Ądda Barnen, Stockholm.

Recent stories on conscientious objection: Dominican Republic

01 Apr 2008

The Ibero-American Convention on Young People's Rights, which entered into force on 1 March 2008, explicitly recognises the right to conscientious objection. Article 12 of the Convention reads: "Young people have the right to form a conscientious objection against compulsory military service." It also includes a commitment of states to create legal instruments to safeguard this right, and to progressively end compulsory military service.

26 Apr 2001

26 April 2001


21. The Committee takes note of the fact that the law makes no provision for the status of conscientious objector to military service, which may legitimately be claimed under article 18 of the Covenant.

The State party should ensure that persons liable for military service may claim the status of conscientious objector and perform alternative service without discrimination.