To explore the full set of age-related legislation in the area of Safety, security and ICT,
you can download the PDF or the Excel version. The full data set for all thematic areas is also available for download.
One core concern of the Convention is the protection of children and adolescents from harm, violence, war and hostilities. This domain focuses particularly on child and adolescent engagement with the military through joining voluntarily, conscription, and participation in hostile environments. All countries comply with the Convention and Optional Protocol, though scope remains to increase the minimum age for voluntary joining the military.
Of growing concern is the protection and autonomy of children and adolescents in the digital sphere. This study thus also sets out to explore digital rights of children. However, information on digital rights proved to be very difficult to source. They form an area in which more comparative information on national legislation would be particularly useful.
The Convention has been an important instrument in protecting children from armed hostilities, particularly as child soldiers. Article 38 notes:
States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 15 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.
Furthermore, States shall “refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of 15 years into their armed forces.” All eligible States across the CEE/CIS region have signed the CRC Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which increases the provisions and protections that States must adopt. Kosovo is the only non-UN member and has therefore not signed.
Across the region, four countries have a minimum age below 18 years for adolescents voluntarily joining the military: Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan have set the age at 17 years, while Moldova has the lowest age at 16 years. These countries
are therefore compliant with the Optional Protocol, though could further raise the age to 18 years. The forthcoming General Comment on Adolescents recommends that “States should raise the age of military recruitment and training by armed
forces, non-State armed groups and security companies to 18 years.” An overview can be found in the map below.
Age at which a child/adolescent can join the military voluntarily
The rights of children in a digital age were subject to discussion by the CRC Committee in 2014 with a series of recommendations to States and other actors, particularly in terms of child privacy, protection, and education.
Throughout the region, the digital rights of children and adolescents are unclear. In terms of consent for the use of personal data, use of images and personal media in the media, and the privacy of children in court proceedings, the legislation was either unclear or no data could be found.
Moldova and Azerbaijan are the only countries to have a specific reference to a child’s consent to use of personal data, but in most countries legislation is generic and does not refer directly to children or adolescents. No country in the region has a known minimum age at which images and personal data of children can be disclosed.