Armed Forces: Children

Defence written question – answered at on 22 November 2011.

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Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that UK-supported military training in (a) Ethiopia, (b) Uruguay and (c) Ukraine does not include training of children under (i) 16 and (ii) 18 years.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

UK-supported military training in Ethiopia is directed at senior members of the Army (at least major rank). Therefore, this precludes any involvement of children.

In Uruguayan law, an individual cannot join the armed forces unless they are at least 18-years-old. Consequently any UK supported military training is targeted at individuals above this age.

Ukraine's law stipulates a minimum recruitment age of 18 years for both conscripts and contract soldiers. Officer cadets may join at 17 years but are required to complete a minimum of four years' training before joining their first unit. Ukrainian personnel receiving UK-supported military training are required to have several years' experience, and are typically non-commissioned or commissioned officers. The UK does not train Ukrainian officer cadets.

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