Norma relacionada
Venezuela
Practice Relating to Rule 136. Recruitment of Child Soldiers
Venezuela’s Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (2008) states: “The Military Reserve is composed of all Venezuelan men and women of legal age who have done military service or who have voluntarily joined the Reserve Units or the Combat Forces.” 
Venezuela, Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, 2008, Article 50.
Venezuela’s Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (2008), as amended in 2009, states:
The reserve rank may be granted to Venezuelan men and women who have attained the age of majority.
The militia rank may be granted to Venezuelan men and women who have attained the age of majority. 
Venezuela, Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, 2008, as amended in 2009, Article 60.
Venezuela’s Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (2008), as amended in 2011, states:
The rank of Reserve Official may be granted to Venezuelan men and women who have attained the age of majority.
The militia rank may be granted to Venezuelan men and women who have attained the age of majority in accordance with the applicable regulation enacted by the Ministry of the Popular Participation for the Defence. 
Venezuela, Law on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, 2008, as amended in 2011, Article 62.
Venezuela’s Law against Kidnapping and Extortion (2009) states:
Article 9. Forcible enlistment
Anyone who, by means of threat or deception, holds, hides, takes or transfers by any means whatsoever, one or more persons for purposes of subjecting them to forcible enlistment, in order to include them in irregular armed groups, shall be punished with imprisonment of 15 to 20 years.
Article 10. Aggravating factors
The penalties for the offences envisaged in the preceding articles shall be increased by one third when:
1. The victim is a child or an adolescent[.] 
Venezuela, Law against Kidnapping and Extortion, 2009, Articles 9–10(1).
Venezuela’s Law on Conscription and Military Enlistment (2009) states:
Article 4. Military age
The period during which Venezuelans have military obligations, called military age, is between 18 and 60 years. 
Venezuela, Law on Conscription and Military Enlistment, 2009, Article 4.
Venezuela’s Law on Conscription and Military Enlistment (2009), as amended in 2010, states:
Article 4. Military age
For the purposes of this law, military age is between 18 and 60 years. Consequently, Venezuelans included in this age group are required to register and are eligible for military service. 
Venezuela, Law on Conscription and Military Enlistment, 2009, as amended in 2010, Article 4.
In 2011, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Venezuela stated:
I. Introduction
6. This report describes the measures taken by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to follow all the parameters established by the United Nations for effectively protecting children and adolescents throughout the country, so as to ensure that they … are not recruited or drafted into compulsory military service.
II. Framework for the protection and promotion of the human rights of children and adolescents
20. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a peaceful country which seeks to build a just and peace-loving society whose citizens live together in harmony; as such, it does not tolerate or promote armed conflict. In its public policies, the Government takes a human rights approach whereby it promotes the values of justice and peace which do not give rise to armed conflict, either national or international. Consequently, there have been no situations in the social or political spheres that would involve the recruitment of children and adolescents.
III. Commitments undertaken by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela upon ratifying the Optional Protocol: information on articles 1 to 7
A. Article 1
24. … The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has adopted the doctrine of comprehensive protection of children and adolescents, as embodied in the Organic Act on Child Protection [(2007)], which provides protection for children and adolescents from the moment of conception to the age of 18 years.
25. The current Civil Code, which was passed in 1982, includes the following: Book I, Of Individuals. Title I. Of individuals in general and individuals in regard to their nationality. Chapter I, of individuals in general, article 18: An individual is an adult when he or she reaches the age of eighteen (18). An adult has capacity for all acts of civil life, with the exceptions established in special provisions.
26. The Conscription and Military Enlistment Act of 1978 was amended in 2009 and 2010, given that the Constitution, in article 134, stipulates that no one shall be subjected to forcible recruitment.
27. Article 4 of the Act amending the Conscription and Military Enlistment Act sets the age of military service, as follows: “For the purposes of this Act, the age for military service shall be between 18 and 60 years. Consequently, Venezuelans included in this age group shall be required to register and shall be eligible for military service.”
28. The Venezuelan Government has always respected the fundamental rights of all children and adolescents living within the national territory. During the period covered by this report, 2003–2010, no cases have arisen in which children and adolescents have … been forcibly recruited into the National Bolivarian Armed Forces …
29. Every year the Ministry of Defence, acting through the Permanent Secretariat for Conscription and Military Enlistment of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, conducts enlistment and conscription campaigns aimed at attracting individuals, who must be adults, to voluntary military service. The military authorities verify that the men and women who respond to the appeal are over 18, so as not to be guilty of violating the law or the agreements on the matter that have been signed and ratified by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and to adhere strictly to the requirements of the existing legal order.
30. To ensure that the true age of individuals is given, the Organic Act on the Civil Registry stipulates that one of its purposes is to ensure the human right of every individual to a biological identity and to identification, as well as to guarantee the constitutional right of all individuals to be entered in the Civil Registry. Accordingly, Title III, Chapter IV of the Organic Act on the Civil Registry provides for the creation of individual civil records as the only mechanism for systematically compiling all acts and events recorded in the Civil Registry for all Venezuelans. Everyone who has been entered in the Civil Registry is assigned an individual code, known as the Single Identity Number, which is recognized by all means of identification in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This is one of the mechanisms used to guarantee and elucidate, when necessary, the true age of individuals whose biological age is in doubt.
32. … Under articles 261 and 265 of the Organic Act on Child Protection, criminal penalties are also imposed for including children and adolescents in criminal groups that promote, direct, participate or profit from associations set up to commit crimes or for recruiting children and adolescents for that purpose.
35. The Organic Act on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces stipulates, in article 52, that military service is open to all Venezuelan men and women of military age. Article 50 provides that members of combat forces must be male and female citizens who work in public or private institutions and volunteer to be registered, organized and trained by the general military command, provided they are over 18 years of age. Article 51 stipulates that the territorial militia shall be made up of male and female citizens over the age of 18 years, who voluntarily organize to perform duties relating to the comprehensive defence of the nation, in accordance with the principle of shared responsibility between the Government and society.
37. Another advance in the law is the Act against Kidnapping and Extortion, which deals with forcible enlistment as a separate crime from kidnapping. Article 9 of the Act stipulates that anyone who, through threat or deception, holds, hides, takes or transfers by any means whatsoever, one or more persons for purposes of subjecting them to forcible enlistment, in order to include them in armed or regular groups, shall be punished with imprisonment of 15 to 20 years. The same Act also establishes mechanisms for increasing the penalty by one third in cases of kidnapping for purposes of forcible enlistment when children or adolescents are affected.
B. Article 2
42. Given that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela guarantees the human rights of all citizens, its Constitution prohibits forcible recruitment. Article 134 establishes this prohibition and clearly stipulates that military service shall be voluntary for civilians or enlisted persons for the defence, preservation and development of the country. In this regard, the laws governing civilian and military service in defence of sovereignty, national identity and territorial integrity have been partially amended. The partial amendment to the Conscription and Military Enlistment Act makes it clear that while registration in the military is obligatory upon reaching adulthood, enlistment and conscription are voluntary. As required by the [2000] Optional Protocol [on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict], conscription and military enlistment of minors are specifically excluded.
43. The Organic Act on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces and the Conscription and Military Enlistment Act, both of which were published in Gaceta Oficial No. 39359, of 21 October 2009, protect minors by ensuring that they do not join an armed contingent. Under article 4 of the Conscription and Military Enlistment Act, all Venezuelans are of military age from the time they reach adulthood and up to the age of 60 years. The Organic Act on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces provides that military service begins from the time that the first military rank is granted; this is obtained after a four-year university course. Article 51 of the Organic Act on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces provides that the territorial militia shall be made up of male and female citizens over the age of 18 years who voluntarily organize to perform duties relating to the comprehensive defence of the country, in accordance with the principle of shared responsibility between the Government and society.
1. The enlistment process
45. The Permanent Secretariat for Conscription and Military Enlistment of the Ministry of Defence conducts recruitment campaigns through the mass media (press, radio and television) at the national, state and municipal levels. The requirements for enlisting in the National Bolivarian Armed Forces are explained during these campaigns, which are directed at all Venezuelans who are eligible for active military service, i.e., those between the ages of 18 and 30.
46. The Permanent Secretariat for Conscription and Military Enlistment then issues instructions to all the district recruitment offices in the country, in both rural and urban areas. No one is allowed to enlist who does not fulfil the basic requirement for military service, i.e., to be at least 18 years old.
47. Venezuelans of military age who wish to fulfil their constitutional duty to serve in the military go voluntarily to the military recruitment office in their jurisdiction.
62. Pursuant to the instructions handed down by the citizen Permanent Secretary for Conscription and Military Enlistment, the individual military districts throughout the country must prepare and submit a final report for each ordinary contingent enlisted (three final reports during the year, making up the annual ordinary contingent). The report must contain detailed information on the men and women who have enlisted, providing personal data for all citizens who have voluntarily responded to the call for enlistment, including their full names and surnames, date of birth, age and sex. The report is reviewed by the Permanent Secretariat for Conscription and Military Enlistment, which collects it for distribution to all the authorities involved in the process. The final report is used to monitor implementation of the military enlistment process throughout the country.
C. Article 3
63. The minimum age for voluntary enlistment in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as stipulated in the Conscription and Military Enlistment Act, is 18 years. It is thus clearly established that minors cannot be involved in active military service.
64. The situation is different in the case of children and adolescents who voluntarily decide to study in the educational units of the defence sector. These schools do not present any kind of physical, moral or psychological risk, since the courses offered follow the curriculum guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education.
1. Educational units operated by the defence sector
65. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has the following military educational
centres:
- Public military educational units: 11
- Private militarized educational units: 5
- Officer training schools: 5
- Professional troop training schools: 3
66. The private militarized educational units have a total of 2,991 students, and the public military educational units have 4,117.
67. These institutions operate on the basis of the following legislation: the Constitution, article 30 of the Organic Act on Education, articles 115 to 121 of the Organic Act on the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, the regulations for public military educational units and the regulations for military education.
68. In order to enrol in private militarized educational units, applicants must be between the ages of 11 and 13, they must have completed sixth grade of basic education, they must have good conduct and be of good moral character, and they must pay the registration fee and the monthly fees.
69. In order to enrol in public militarized educational units, applicants must be between the ages of 11 and 13, they must have completed sixth grade of basic education, and they must have good conduct and be of good moral character. There is no fee for these schools.
70. These educational centres follow the curricula developed by the Ministry of Education; in addition, they provide training in civic values and principles pertaining to the security, defence and comprehensive development of the nation.
71. The difference between civilian and military educational units is that the military schools instil in their students the values of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. In addition, they provide more in-depth training in the area of security and comprehensive defence of the nation.
2. State protection for children and adolescents who choose private and/or public military educational units
72. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela offers the necessary protection to children and adolescents who choose to enrol in private and public military educational units. Accordingly, the fundamental protection provided is to be found in the Constitution, the Organic Act on Child Protection and the Organic Act on Education, which safeguard the personal wellbeing of Venezuelan children by not allowing military exercises that endanger the lives of children and adolescents and not allowing them to participate in military operations during armed conflicts.
D. Article 4
1. Armed groups and legislative measures
Armed groups and legislative measures
73. Concerning the obligation of the Venezuelan State not to allow any armed group to recruit or use children and adolescents in hostilities, legislation has been passed that clearly and categorically prohibits all armed groups from enlisting or recruiting children and adolescents. Moreover, any such activity constitutes an infringement of the duty to provide protection and gives rise to punitive action.
74. There are no armed groups in the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and there have been no reports of children or adolescents having participated in armed conflicts, either in the past or at present.
76. One of the main goals of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is to build a just and peace-loving society. Consequently, there are no irregular armed groups that might recruit children and adolescents for the purpose of involving them in armed conflict.
2. Legislation designed to protect children and adolescents and prevent them from participating in forcible recruitment
82. One of the essential goals of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is to build a just and peace-loving society. Consequently, there are no irregular armed groups that might recruit children and adolescents for the purpose of involving them in armed conflict. As a republic that defends peace and harmonious relations between its citizens, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has enacted the following legislation:
83. The Act against Kidnapping and Extortion, published in Gaceta Oficial No. 39194, of 5 June 2009, defines forcible enlistment as a criminal offence separate from kidnapping. Article 9 of the Act stipulates that anyone who, by means of threat or deception, holds, hides, takes or transfers by any means whatsoever, one or more persons for purposes of subjecting them to forcible enlistment, in order to include them in [irregular armed] groups, shall be punished with imprisonment of 15 to 20 years.
84. The same Act also establishes mechanisms for increasing the penalty by one third in cases of kidnapping for purposes of forcible enlistment when children or adolescents are affected. Article 10, paragraph 1 provides that penalties for the offences envisaged in the preceding articles shall be increased by one third when: 1. The victim is a child or an adolescent …
85. Article 6 of the Conscription and Military Enlistment Act stipulates that all Venezuelans of military age are duty bound to serve in the National Bolivarian Armed Forces and that they shall receive such military instruction as is necessary for the defence, preservation and comprehensive development of the country, in accordance with the rules laid down in the relevant laws and regulations. This duty is based on the principle of shared responsibility between the State and society in support of the fundamental pillars of the State, namely, independence, justice, equality and respect for human rights.
E. Article 5
104. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela respects the rights of all children and adolescents and therefore is in full agreement with the provisions of inter-American humanitarian law, which has been the underlying premise for encouraging, promoting and respecting their fundamental guarantees. International humanitarian law provides that minors, especially those who are under 15 years of age, must not participate directly in hostilities, and strives to insure that they will not join the armed forces or any armed opposition group.
F. Article 6
2. Implementation of the [2000] Optional Protocol [on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict]. Case of the Hacienda Daktary paramilitary forces
110. Article 6, paragraph 3 of the Optional Protocol provides that “States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons within their jurisdiction recruited or used in hostilities contrary to this Protocol are demobilized or otherwise released from service. States Parties shall, when necessary, accord to these persons all appropriate assistance for their physical and psychological recovery and their social reintegration.”
111. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was the first State party to implement the Optional Protocol, thus fulfilling its obligation to comply with international human rights instruments. It has been recognized by organizations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its efforts to protect children and adolescents. It has implemented its comprehensive protection systems to safeguard the human rights of children and adolescents, providing them appropriate treatment as victims at all times. This was the case in 2004, when paramilitary forces that included adolescents were discovered at a property near Caracas.
3. Activities to promote prevention, awareness and a culture of peace and social harmony
c. The National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents
131. In the context of the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents and the agencies which comprise it, article 137 of the Organic Act on Child Protection authorizes the Autonomous Institute and National Council on the Rights of Children and Adolescents to request that the competent authorities take measures and allocate resources to address specific problems affecting children and adolescents.
132. The programmes implemented by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela play an important preventative role by promoting, guaranteeing and restoring the rights of children and adolescents and thus preventing their involvement in irregular armed groups.
136. With regard to the defence and protection of the rights of children and adolescents in the national territory, the Autonomous Institute and National Council on the Rights of Children and Adolescents, working within the framework of the democratization policy of the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents, has made efforts to prevent children and adolescents from falling prey to threats, violations of their rights and violence, leading to their recruitment into armed groups. …
G. Article 7
165. With regard to technical cooperation and financial assistance, the Ministry of Defence and the military units posted at the borders have monitored the situation in those areas, in compliance with international commitments relating to children. These units reinforce the prevention programmes carried out by agencies in the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents by alerting them about irregular situations involving the participation of children and adolescents in armed groups. 
Venezuela, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 12 September 2013, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/VEN/1, submitted 5 July 2011, §§ 6, 20, 24–30, 32, 35, 37, 42–43, 45–47, 62–74, 76, 82–85, 104, 110–111, 131–132, 136 and 165.
[footnotes in original omitted]