Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Issues for the Country Report Task Forces - BOTSWANA
Submission to the 90th Session of the Human Rights Committee: July 2007
Botswana maintains an army some 8,500 strong and an air force with about 500 personnel.1 Recruitment into these forces has however always been on a voluntary basis. Under the Botswana Defence Force Act of 1977 a recruit must “have the apparent age of 18” - the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers has pointed out that, even linked with penalties for providing false information, such a rule does not provide an absolute safeguard against juventile recruitment2.
No case has been recorded where a serving member of the armed forces has
developed a conscientious objection to such service. Such an eventuality cannot however be precluded; it might for instance occur as a result of a change of religion.
CPTI recommends that, as with other countries whose armed forces rely upon voluntary
recruitment, the State Party be encouraged to make a clear statement in law of the right to have or to develop a conscientious objection to military service, so as to afford protection of that right to all, including those who have already enlisted in the armed forces.
8th June, 2007.
International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military
Balance, 2004/5, Routledge, London, p367.
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers
Global Report 2004 , p39