DECLARATION 4#: Military Recruitment for combat roles in the UK

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GA notes that the UK is the only European & NATO country to recruit 16-year-olds into the armed forces, in conflict with the internationally recognised UN Rights of the Child.

GA further notes that those who join the armed forces under the age of 18 are more likely to be killed or injured in service, suffer from alcohol abuse and mental health issues than standard entry recruits.

GA abhors the fact that military recruiters are allowed to operate in schools and other educational establishments, and that they deliberately target young people from low socio-economic backgrounds with limited opportunities (for example, inner cities or post-industrial areas).

Notes that over three-quarters of UK citizens support an increase in the armed forces recruitment age to 18 and that such an increase in the recruitment age is supported by a range of organisations and institutions domestically and interationally.

EFAy therefore calls upon the UK Government to work towards raising the minimum armed forces recruitment age from 16 to 18 for all roles that require combat training in line with international standards and also supports this as part of an independent Wales or Scotland’s defence policy.

EFAy also calls for a total ban on military recruitment in any educational establishment, including but not limited to, schools, colleges, or careers events aimed at young people leaving schools.

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