1 Conscription

conscription not enforced

Mauritania has no conscription. [1] [3] [4]

Although the 14 June 1962 Law provides for a two-years' compulsory military service, this law has apparently never been applied. [2] [6]


Recruitment into the armed forces is on a voluntary basis. [2] [3] [4]

The minimum legal recruitment age is 16. [3] [4]

Within the armed forces there is considerable ethnic tension.

A large part of armed forces consists of black Afro-Mauritanians, but they are a minority in the senior ranks. [2] [5]

In 1989-1990 the government arrested 3,000 Afro-Mauritanian military personnel and civilians after allegations of a coup attempt. 500 of them were killed, tortured and maimed while in military custody. In 1993 all members of the armed forces and security forces were pardoned, so those responsible for these abuses have never been prosecuted. [5]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no known legal provision for conscientious objection.

3 Desertion

No information available.

6 Annual statistics

The armed forces are 15,650 strong - nearly 0.7 percent of the population. Alongside the armed forces there is a 3,000 strong Gendarmerie and a 2,000 strong National Guard. [6]


[1] 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. [2] Société I3C 1986. Military Powers, the league of Arab states, vol 1. Société I3C, Paris, France. [3] Brett, R. & M. McCallin 1996. Children, the invisible soldiers. Rädda Barnen, Stockholm, Sweden. [4] UN Commission on Human Rights 1997. The question of conscientious objection to military service, report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/83. United Nations, Geneva. [5] US State Department 1997. Country Reports of Human Rights Practices for 1996. Washington DC. [6] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK.


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