Country report and updates: Equatorial Guinea

Last revision: 22 Jul 1998
22 Jul 1998
22/07/1998

1 Conscription

conscription exists

Several sources indicate that Equatorial Guinea has conscription. [2] [6] [7]

According to the government in 1992 military service is compulsory for male citizens. Art. 16, para. 2, of the Constitution establishes the compulsory nature of military service. The government added however that "the compulsory nature of military service is of course subject to the drafting of legislation governing military service", which would suggest that there are no conscription laws. [4]

In 1991 Amnesty International stated that there was no conscription. [3]

It is unclear whether conscription is enforced and what its legal basis is.

military service

All 18-year-old men are liable for military service. [7]

postponement and exemption

No information is available about this.

recruitment

Just how recruitment into the armed forces takes place is not known.

Equatorial Guinea has a large security apparatus, the Seguridad Nacional, which comprises the military, the police and the Presidential Guard. The latter is made up of Moroccan soldiers and Antorches, a paramilitary force recruited from the youth wing of the dominant political party. The security forces are not governed by any law and they are held responsible for the widespread human rights violations in Equatorial Guinea. [5]

2 Conscientious objection

There is no legal provision for conscientious objection.

In 1980 the government wrote to the UN that "there is no legislation relating to conscientious objection to military service; nevertheless, it is felt that people have the right to refuse to serve in military or police forces which are used to impose apartheid." [1]

In 1992 they stated: "We inform you that the problem of conscientious objection does not arise in Equatorial Guinea." [4]

3 Draft evasion and desertion

No information about penalties for draft evasion and desertion is available.

It seems that in Equatorial Guinea the military penal code that existed under the former Spanish dictator Franco is still in existence. In the last years several innocent soldiers as well as civilians have been court-martialled on accusation of planning to overthrow the government. They were sentenced to execution and long prison sentences. [5] [9]

6 Annual statistics

According to the Military Balance the armed forces are 1,320 strong - which is 0.3 percent of the population. [8]

In 1995 Amnesty International estimated the armed forces to be between 3,000 and 10,000 strong, which would mean up to 2 percent of the population. [5]

Every year approximately 4,000 men reach conscription age. [8]

Sources

[1] UN Commission on Human Rights 1980. Report by the Secretary-General. United Nations, Geneva. [2] Eide, A., C. Mubanga-Chipoya 1985. Conscientious objection to military service, report prepared in pursuance of resolutions 14 (XXXIV) and 1982/30 of the Sub-Commission of Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. United Nations, New York. [3] Amnesty International 1991. Conscientious objection to military service. AI, London, UK. [4] UN Commission on Human Rights 1992. Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1991/65 (and 3 Addendums). United Nations, Geneva. [5] Amnesty International 1995. Equatorial Guinea: A dismal record of broken promises. AI, London, UK. [6] Brett, R. & M. McCallin 1996. Children, the invisible soldiers. R├Ądda Barnen, Stockholm, Sweden. [7] UN Commission on Human Rights, 1997. The question of conscientious objection to military service, report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/83 United Nations, Geneva. [8] Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London, UK. [9] NRC Handelsblad (Dutch newspaper), 2 June 1998.