Malta

Malta

Conscription: No (never).

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict: Signed (7 Sep 2000). Ratified (9 May 2002).
Voluntary recruitment age: none.
Conscientious objection recognised for professional soldiers: No.
Military expenditure: 0.7% of GDP (data 2009).

Remarks:
1) In its declaration on ratification of the Optional Protocol in May 2002, the government prohibited the enlistment of anyone under the age of 17 years and 6 months, and ruled out the participation in hostilities of anyone under the age of 18. The Declaration also included the provision that “a person under 18 years may not be enlisted unless consent to the enlistment is given in writing by the father of such person or, if such person is not subject to paternal authority, by the mother or by another person in whose care the person offering to enlist may be”. In its November 2005 Initial Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on implementation of the Optional Protocol, Malta stated that this requirement also applied to persons “under the appropriate minimum age”, apparently contradicting the declaration’s ban on recruitment of any individual under the age of 17 years and 6 months. In response, the Committee expressed its regret that the government had given “no indication of a minimum age under which it would not be possible to recruit children under any circumstance, i.e. even with parental or other legal guardians’ consent”. The Committee therefore recommended the enactment of a law establishing an absolute minimum age without exception for voluntary recruitment.
2) There is no right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.

Recommendations:
1) Establish an absolute minimum age without exception for voluntary recruitment, at least equal to 18 years old.
2) Recognise the right to conscientious objection for professional soldiers.