Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Issues for the Country Report Task Forces - BOTSWANA

en

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.

Notes


1
International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military
Balance, 2004/5
, Routledge, London, p367.




2
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers
Global Report 2004
, p39


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