Committee on the Rights of the Child: Concluding observations: Azerbaijan

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 8, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

Concluding observations: Azerbaijan

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IV. Prevention

Voluntary recruitment

13. Notwithstanding the State party’s statement that its legislation does not envisage the involvement of persons under the age of 18 in military service, the Committee is concerned at the lack of an express prohibition on this. Furthermore, the Committee notes that the State party’s declaration upon ratification of the Optional Protocol states that “persons, who are meeting the defined requirements of the military service, may voluntarily enter and be admitted in age of 17 the active military service of the cadets military school”, thus allowing situations in which persons under the age of 18 could be involved in armed conflict.

14. Pursuant to article 2 of the Optional Protocol, the Committee urges the State party to enact legislation which expressly prohibits the involvement of persons under the age of 18, including those enrolled in a military school, from being involved in military service. The Committee further recommends that the State party consider withdrawing its declaration under article 3 of the Optional Protocol.

Military schools

15. The Committee is concerned that the use of firearms is a mandatory part of the curricula in military schools. Also, while noting the State party’s assurance that children attending military schools have access to complaints mechanisms at these schools and to the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Committee is concerned that the complaints mechanisms at these schools are not adequately independent and that there may be limited awareness that the Human Rights Ombudsman’s mandate also includes children attending military schools.

16. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure a clear prohibition on training in the use of firearms in military schools for all persons under the age of 18. The Committee also recommends that the State party establish accessible and independent complaints and investigation mechanisms for children attending military schools. The Committee further recommends that awareness of these mechanisms as well as the right of children attending these schools to also make complaints to the Human Rights Ombudsman on potential violations that occur in military schools be included as a mandatory part of the induction and training syllabus for military cadets under the age of 18.

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