PRESS RELEASE: Campaign against UK’s enlistment of children to be continued by CRIN

The campaign to raise the UK’s military enlistment age to 18 will move to the Child Rights International Network (CRIN), following the closure of Child Soldiers International.

The UK is the only major military power and the only State in Europe to enlist 16-year-olds into its armed forces. Research has shown that joining the armed forces before turning 18 can have significant effects on the health, socio-economic outcomes, and legal rights of young people, even before they may be sent to war.

Child Soldiers International and CRIN both believe that the only way to safeguard under-18s against the risks associated with joining the armed forces too early is to raise the enlistment age to 18.

This Straight-18 standard is now the norm in two-thirds of countries worldwide. Child Soldiers International has campaigned since 2010 for a transition to all-adult armed forces in the remaining states, including the UK. Over the years the UK campaign has produced extensive research on the effects of enlisting minors into military organisations, achieved high-profile media coverage, and engaged with policymakers and parliamentarians to build support for reform.

Child Soldiers International is delighted to hand the UK campaign to CRIN, its long-standing partner. CRIN is a staunch advocate for the rights of young people in a wide range of spheres, such as protection from toxic pollution, rights in the digital environment, access to justice and the impact of counter-terrorism strategies. The campaign to raise the enlistment age in the UK is a fitting addition to its ongoing work.

Veronica Yates, Director of CRIN, said: “While we are sad to see the closure of Child Soldiers International we are eager to continue the excellent work they have done to stop the UK’s armed forces recruiting children and change the UK’s deeply flawed standards, which do nothing to protect children.”

Isabelle Guitard, Director of Child Soldiers International, said: “Child Soldiers International wishes to thank CRIN for taking up the baton on this important campaign. There is no doubt that it will benefit tremendously from CRIN’s fresh and creative outlook, and achieve new successes in their hands. We also want to thank everyone who has contributed to the campaign through the years and encourage them to support CRIN.”

Contact details: Charlotte Cooper: [email protected]

Additionally, read the ‘Farewell and onwards’ note from CSI’s Director.