Practice Relating to Rule 136. Recruitment of Child Soldiers
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009), in a section on the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, states that “the occupying power may not, under any circumstances, change … [the] personal status [of children] or enlist them in formations or organizations subordinate to it.”
At the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1999, Mexico pledged “to promote the adoption of national and international standards prohibiting the military recruitment … in armed conflicts of persons under 18 years of age”.
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Mexico stated:
22. In accordance with the provisions of the Optional Protocol, Mexicans who join the Mexican Army or Air Force on active service must be at least 18 years of age, except when enrolled in the military education system. There is no law obliging children under 18 years to enter active service with the armed forces …
32. The Government of Mexico, in compliance with article 3, paragraph 2, of the Optional Protocol, deposited a binding declaration setting forth the minimum age for the voluntary recruitment of its nationals into the armed forces as 18 years.
34. The minimum age requirement for voluntary recruitment is 18 years. Under article 24 of the Military Service Act, persons under 18 and over 16 years of age may be admitted to join the army, but only to be trained as technical operatives in signal units under contract with the State not exceeding 5 years. In such cases, the consent of the parent or guardian, an application in writing by the person concerned and his or her birth certificate are required.
35. The Protocol’s provision regarding recruitment of children by armed groups other than the armed forces does not apply in Mexico’s case, partly on account of the interpretative declaration referred to in paragraph 4 of this report and partly due to the fact that Mexico is not currently involved in any armed conflicts (internal or international), so that there is no recruitment or use of children by armed groups.
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In 2009, during a debate in the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict, the permanent representative of Mexico stated:
We condemn all acts that jeopardize the integrity of children, such as … the recruitment … of child soldiers …
Mexico calls on the international community to strengthen its efforts to protect children, in particular, … to slow their recruitment and prevent their reincorporation into armed groups.
In 2010, during a debate in the UN Security Council on children in armed conflict, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs stated:
Mexico will continue to guide the work of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict inclusively and with determination and transparency until the end of its mandate as non-permanent member of the Security Council.
We would like to focus on five aspects … [including] promoting the implementation of action plans aimed at ending the recruitment … of children.