To: Ministry of Defence

Stop recruitment of 16 year olds into the UK armed forces

Stop recruitment of 16 year olds into the UK armed forces

We call on the UK Government to stop its policy of allowing 15 year olds to apply and 16 and 17 year olds to be recruited into the Armed Forces. The recruitment and targeting of young people and vulnerable groups has been criticised by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. It is time to end this policy.

Why is this important?

What better way to commit our country to peace during the commemoration of World War One and remember the hundreds of thousands who died from the UK alone, including boy soldiers like Rifleman V J Strudwick who was killed at 15? Why is it that in 2015 the UK is the only country in Europe - and the only country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council - to recruit 16 year olds into its armed forces?

Initiated by Pax Christi and supported by:
Baptist Peace Fellowship, Child Soldiers International, Christian CND, Columban Justice Peace & Integrity of Creation, Conscience, Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre, Fellowship of Reconciliation, ForcesWatch, Movement for the Abolition of War, National Justice & Peace Network, National Union of Teachers, Network for Peace, Northern Friends Peace Board, Peace Education Network, Peace Pledge Union, Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Student Christian Movement, United Reformed Church Peace Fellowship, War Resisters International, Woodcraft Folk, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom

How it will be delivered

The petition will be handed to the Ministry of Defence in 2016. To date we also have 3,300 signatures on the paper petition.Help us to reach 10,000!

Paper copies of this petition are also available - email or download from .

For more information see

Reasons for signing

  • Children should not be allowed to decide to join the armed forces. Ideally I would like to see the age raised to 21.
  • Military service should start at 18 years old, training and logistics, apprenticeship, humanitarian work, civil part of national defence, non combat roles then be able to participate in combat roles at 20 years old. Before 18 years old should only be cadet, training, apprenticeship, humanitarian work, civil part of national defence, non combat roles.
  • They should be able to train between 17 & 18 (& apply 2or 3months before17), into non-combat roles, without having been recruited into the army itself [like a special kind of apprenticeship into a department that is not classified as armed forces [but related to a civil part of national defence]].


2013-12-17 12:38:21 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2013-11-20 09:41:19 +0000

500 signatures reached

2013-11-16 12:57:30 +0000

100 signatures reached

2013-11-15 20:34:37 +0000

50 signatures reached

2013-11-15 17:20:45 +0000

25 signatures reached

2013-11-15 14:40:44 +0000

10 signatures reached