24. In addition to compulsory military service by Brazilians aged 18 years, art. 27 of the Military Service Law provides that the Armed Forces may at any time of the year authorize the acceptance of volunteers, reservists or not. Art. 127 of the RLSM explains that the purpose of such authorization is to meet the Armed Forces’ normal, occasional, or specific needs. Volunteers are accepted through an act by the interested Armed Force, stating the conditions of the service to be rendered, the attendant obligations, and the volunteer rights to be ensured (RLSM, art. 173, paragraph 2).
25. Notwithstanding the legal possibility, for years Brazil has not authorized the acceptance of volunteers for entry-level military service, given the excess of contingents. Accordingly, there are no data or statistics on such volunteers since the Optional Protocol for Brazil entered into force.
26. As regards an Armed Forces’ authorization to accept volunteers, art. 5, paragraph 2 of the LSM allows volunteers to render military service beginning at the age of 17 years. A volunteer reporting for enlistment for entry-level military service may do so as of the day he reaches the age of 16 years, pursuant to art. 41, paragraph 1 of the RLSM.
Paragraphs 2 and 4
27. The adoption of the binding declaration took into consideration the internal legislation in force about the recruiting of volunteers under the age of 18 years for the rendering of entry-level military service, as well as the fact that, given the excess of contingents of drafted recruits, Brazil has not accepted volunteers under these conditions.
28. The procedure for recruiting volunteers, from the moment they express their intention to join the Armed Forces as volunteers to the time of their actual induction, follows in general the same stages as the recruitment of conscripts, save for the specificities of this modality of entry-level military service and the specific terms and conditions each Armed Force establishes when authorizing the acceptance of volunteers. As the Brazilian Armed Forces have not accepted volunteers for entry-level military service, information on this item is limited to the existing legal provisions and regulations.
29. Pursuant to the RLSM, art. 49, paragraph 4, after they attain the age of 16 years, Brazilians residing in any municipality may present themselves for selection, provided they meet the conditions set by the Armed Forces for their acceptance as volunteers. Rules and procedures pertaining to proof of age and the medical examinations set for their selection are the same as those applicable to conscripts, as mentioned in paragraphs 21 and 22(c) of this report. Under no circumstances, registration before the year in which the volunteer attains the age of 17 years shall be valid for rendering military service, given the minimum age established by the RLSM, art. 85, sole paragraph.
30. For the purposes of military service, a minor’s civil incapacity will cease on the day he attains the age of 17 years, pursuant to art. 73 of the Military Service Law and to art. 239 of this law’s Regulation. The sole paragraph of art. 239 of the RLSM provides that volunteers that have not yet attained the age of 17 years at the time of induction or registration must provide valid proof of his guardian’s consent.
31. As no volunteers under the age of 18 years have been accepted by the Armed Forces, there is no specific documentation for informing about volunteers and their parents or legal guardians in connection with the military service obligation, other than the existing laws and regulations on the matter. For the same reasons, there are no incentives for attracting volunteers.
32. The minimum duration of actual service by volunteers depends on the act of the interested Force authorizing their acceptance. As no volunteers have been accepted into the Armed Forces, it may be mentioned, for illustration purposes, that the normal duration of entry-level military service by those inducted is 12 months, in accordance with art. 6 of the LSM.
33. Volunteers will end their time of service at the completion of the term for which they have committed themselves, in accordance with the act authorizing their acceptance, consistently with arts. 147 and 127, paragraph 2 of the RLSM. The general rules set out in art. 31 of the Military Service Law for the early interruption of service envisage the following possibilities:
(a) Annulment of the induction, if irregularities are detected in the recruitment procedures, including selection. Art. 139, paragraph 4 of the RLSM provides that, in the case of age-related irregularities, the inducted volunteers that do not attain the age of 17 years in the same year as that of their induction should be given back their Military Enlistment Certificate, with the notation that they should return for selection with their class. If they attain the age of 17 years in the same year as their induction, volunteers may, at the discretion of the Military Organization’s Commander, continue to serve and no annulment takes place;
(b) Release, in case of illness or accident, or if the volunteer assumes the condition of breadwinner after induction or is convicted of felonious crime, pursuant to art. 31, paragraph 2 of the LSM.
(c) Dishonorable discharge, in case of conviction for ordinary or felonious crime, the commission of acts that under the military law or regulations make the person unworthy of belonging to the Armed Forces, or contumacious behavior, pursuant to art. 31, paragraph 3 of the LSM; and
(d) Desertion after conviction for desertion crimes defined in the Military Penal Code (see Annex 5 for definition of types of penalty and minimum and maximum sanctions contemplated and the attendant circumstances for exemption, mitigation, or aggravation of the penalty).
According to the RLSM, art. 138, sole paragraph, these provisions apply, pursuant to specific legislation, to all inducted men, including volunteers, who are rendering military service in other forms and at other stages.
34. As regards the application of military discipline to recruits under 18 years of age, volunteers are subject to the same obligations and rules imposed on the class to be called, from the time of selection to the time of release, in keeping with the conditions set out in the instructions for their acceptance, issued by the Military Commanders (RLSM, art. 49, paragraph 5). The extent of the application of military disciplinary rules to volunteers under the age of 18 years will thus depend on the act of the interested Force authorizing their acceptance. For illustration purposes, it is worth noting that the Disciplinary Regulations of each Armed Force, approved by presidential decree, provide that, after investigation through the appropriate disciplinary procedures, the application of disciplinary sanctions include from warning or reprehension for lighter infractions to expulsion from the Force for the sake of discipline in case of infractions of utmost gravity, and may include in-between imprisonment or disciplinary detention for a maximum of 30 days.
35. The Military Penal Code (MPC) prescribes the application, under certain circumstances, of its provisions to persons under 18 years of age, placing them under the Military Judiciary. According to the general rule set out in art. 50 of the MPC, a person under 18 years of age is not indictable. Exceptionally, if the person has already attained the age of 16 years and demonstrates enough psychic development to understand the illicit nature of the fact and, if based on this understanding, he is deemed indictable, the penalty imposed, in this case, is reduced by one third to one half. MPC’s art. 51, in turn, treats such an individual as being over 18 years of age, even if that age has not yet been actually reached, for the purposes of applying the military penal rules, placing him on the same level as: (a) the military; (b) those called up , those who report for induction, and those that have been given temporary leave and fail to report themselves at the expiration of their leave; and (c) the students of military schools or other educational institutions under military control and discipline, who have already attained the age of 17 years.
36. As no volunteers under the age of 18 years have been accepted into the Brazilian Armed Forces, there are no data on such persons being subject to prosecution or to deprivation of their freedom as a result of a military, disciplinary, or penal proceeding.
37. With respect to educational institutions under the control of the Armed Forces in Brazil, it is important to distinguish, in connection with the Optional Protocol, between Military Schools (CMs) and Military Preparatory Schools (EsPCEx, CN, and EPCAr).
38. The Military Schools are educational institutions of the Army, which offer education from the 5th to the 8th grade of elementary school and from the 1st to the 3rd grade of secondary school. Military School students are not members of the military do not receive military training, may leave school at any time they wish, and are not under the obligation to follow a military career. In case of mobilization, they are not subject to it. The only Military School students who receive military training are those that present themselves as volunteers for the Reservist Training Courses. These courses last six months and are taught without prejudice to the hour load of regular teaching. Admission to the Reservist Training Courses is restricted to Military School Students that belong to the class that has been called for the entry-level military service (aged 18) or that, although belonging to another class, meet the legal requirements for being accepted as volunteers, as explained in paragraphs 28 to 30 above.
39. Currently, there are twelve Military Schools in Brazil:
(a) Colégio Militar de Brasília-CMB;
(b) Colégio Militar de Belo Horizonte-CMBBH
(c) Colégio Militar de Curitiba-CMC
(d) Colégio Militar de Campo Grande-CMDG
(e) Colégio Militar de Fortaleza-CMF
(f) Colégio Militar de Juiz d Fora-CMJF
(g) Colégio Militar de Manaus-CMM
(h) Colégio Militar de Porto Alegre-CMPA
(i) Colégio Militar de Recife-CMR
(j) Colégio Militar de Rio de Janeiro-CMRJ
(l) Colégio Militar de Salvador-CMS
(m) Colégio Militar de Santa Maria-CMSM
40. The course of studies at the Military Schools usually lasts seven years (from the 5th grade of elementary school to the 3rd grade of secondary school). The minimum enrollment age varies according to basic education, from age 10 for enrollment in the 5th grade of elementary school to age 16 for enrollment in the 3rd grade of secondary school. Eligible candidates are either the children of military or those that pass competitive entrance examinations.
41. Education in Military Schools follows the norms and principles laid out in the Guidelines and Bases of National Education, the Law on Education in the Army, the Military Schools Regulation, and the Military Schools Internal Regulations (cf. Annexes 6 to 8), among others. The teaching of the principles of human rights and humanitarian law, particularly with respect to children, forms part of the disciplines of Ethics and Introduction to Philosophy and to Sociology, which allow for a contextualized approach to the matter. An effort is also made to mainstream the teaching of said principles through other subjects in the curriculum whenever possible, bearing in mind that human rights are one of the cross-discipline themes contemplated in the National Curriculum Parameters.
42. Military School facilities are compatible with the objectives of Basic Education and the pedagogical approach of Brazil’s Military Schools System. All Military Schools have classrooms, equipped laboratories, computer-equipped libraries, sports courts and gyms, athletics fields, swimming pool, and green areas.
43. The application of discipline in Military Schools is governed by the Regulatory Norms of the Military Schools’ Disciplinary Regime (
Annex 9), adopted in July 1996, in harmony with the principles laid out in the Statute of the Child and Adolescent and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The disciplinary system in Military Schools has solely educational objectives and is monitored by psychologists/pedagogues, who provide assistance to students and guidance to teachers’ assistants, teachers, and officers. Penalties vary from warnings for minor infractions to expelling for graver infractions, preceded by rigorous investigation. A reward system for good behavior and good performance is also in place.
44. In addition, Military School students who are enrolled in the Reservist Training Course (RTC) as mentioned in Paragraph 38 above, are subject to the Military Penal Code and to the Army’s Disciplinary Regulations, although the limitations imposed by the peculiarities of school life are taken into account and, in RTC cases, this applies only to disciplinary transgressions.
45. Disaggregate data on Military School students and teachers are shown in Annex 10 hereto.
46. Military Preparatory Schools, in turn, prepare cadets or officer candidates for entering the Armed Forces’ officers training academies, and seek to instill in students the motivation for a military career and enthusiasm for their respective Force. They operate on a boarding-school system and offer secondary education and military instruction compatible with reservist training, in addition to the practice of sports. Enrollment in these schools is voluntary and open only to male candidates. To be admitted, students must clear selective procedures that involve intellectual tests, health examinations, and physical and psychological aptitude tests. Candidates that have not yet attained 18 years of age when they register for the selection procedure must provide a written consent of their parents or legal guardians.
47. After enrollment, students become members of the respective Force as students, are entitled to a monthly pay, lodging, uniform, and food, in addition to medical/hospital, dental, and psychological and pedagogical care. However, the employment of these students in case of mobilization or armed conflict is not contemplated. The discipline required from students at EsPCEx, CN, and EPCAr is consistent with the Disciplinary Regulations of the respective Forces and with the specific rules of each educational establishment. Students may drop out at any time and are not required to follow a military career upon completion. As they finish their respective courses, they receive a certificate of completion of secondary school and a reservist’s certificate, and may enter higher-level education military schools if they so wish and meet other pertinent legal and regulatory requirements.
48. The above-mentioned Armed Forces preparatory schools are as follows:
(a) Army Cadets Preparatory School-EsPCEx, located in Campinas, State of São Paulo. It is a military educational institution that prepares young men to enter the Agulhas Negras Military Academy (AMAN), where combat officers of the Brazilian Army are trained. Successful graduates are eligible to enter AMAN, provided they meet the other requirements under the law and regulations. The course lasts one year on a half-board regime and covers the 3rd and last grade of secondary school in addition to the disciplines necessary to the professional military initiation, consistent with the category B reservist training. Enrollment in the EsPCEx is through an annual national competitive examination, open to young men aged 15 to 20 who are attending or have completed the second grade of secondary school. Currently, there are 475 students enrolled in the EsPCEx, which employs 13 civilian teachers and 74 members of the military, including teachers, instructors, psychologists, pedagogues, educational technicians, and General Staff Officers. The sociology, anthropology, and political science courses offer programmatic contents in respect of Citizenship and Human Rights to encourage students to reflect on their condition as citizens and on these disciplines’ importance for building ethical values.
(b) Naval College (CN). Located in Angra dos Reis, State of Rio de Janeiro, the Naval College is an educational establishment belonging to the Navy. The Naval College’s objective is to prepare and screen students for the Naval School’s Graduate Course. The Naval College program of studies, known as Training Course for Admission to the Naval School’s Graduate Course, lasts three years on a boarding-school system and is equivalent to the three years of secondary education plus military-naval training. Each year, 200 candidates are screened through a Selective Admission Process (PSACN). They must be aged 15-18 and have completed the 8th grade of elementary school by the time the course starts. In 2005, enrollment at the Naval School totaled 628 students.
(c) Air Cadet Preparatory School-EPCAr. This educational establishment belonging to the Brazilian Air Force is located in Barbacena, State of Minas Gerais and prepares candidates for entering the Aviator Officers Training Course at the Air Force Academy (AFA). To be admitted to the EPCAr Course, known as Air Force Cadet Preparatory Course (CPCAr), which lasts three years and corresponds to the last three years of secondary education, candidates must have completed or be in condition to complete the 8th grade of elementary school and have not yet attained the age of 18 years. Each year, 150 candidates can be admitted to the first year of CPCAr. Admission to the 3rd year of CPCAr is possible for candidates that have completed or are about to complete the 2nd year of secondary education and have not yet attainted 20 years of age at the time of enrollment. Usually, 20 to 30 candidates can be admitted in this category each year. In 2005, total enrollment at the EPCAr was 438 students in the three grades of secondary education.
49. Brazil has not been involved in situations of armed conflict, either internally or internationally, so that Art. 4 has not been applied since the entry into force of the Optional Protocol for Brazil.
50. As children make up one of society’s most vulnerable segments, particularly during armed conflicts, Brazil, in addition to participating in the OPCRC/AC, is party to the main international humanitarian law instruments that guarantee the protection of the rights of children in such situations. Some of the major normative instruments in this connection are: (i) the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of August 12, 1949 (Convention IV) and (ii) the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
51. The Geneva Convention IV, adopted on August 8, 1949 and internationally in force since October 21, 1950, has been incorporated into the Brazilian legislation by Decree No. 42121, of August l8, 1957. Convention IV devotes several articles to the protection of children in armed conflicts, including articles 14, 23, 24, 38, 50, 89, and 94. For example, under the title concerning the general protection of populations from certain consequences of war, art. 14. provides that “In times of peace, the High Contracting Parties and, after the outbreak of hostilities, the Parties thereto, may establish in their own territory and, if the need arises, in occupied areas, hospital and safety zones and localities so organized as to protect from the effects of war, wounded, sick and aged persons, children under fifteen, expectant mothers and mothers of children under seven.” Art. 24 provides that “the Parties to the conflict shall take the necessary measures to ensure that children under fifteen, who are orphaned or are separated from their families as a result of the war, are not left to their own resources, and that their maintenance, the exercise of their religion and their education are facilitated in all circumstances. Their education shall, as far as possible, be entrusted to persons of a similar cultural tradition. The Parties to the conflict shall facilitate the reception of such children in a neutral country for the duration of the conflict with the consent of the Protecting Power, if any, and under due safeguards for the observance of the principles stated in the first paragraph. They shall, furthermore, endeavor to arrange for all children under twelve to be identified by the wearing of identity discs, or by some other means.”
52. Art. 50 of the Geneva Convention IV addresses the protection of children in occupied territories: “The Occupying Power shall, with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children. The Occupying Power shall take all necessary steps to facilitate the identification of children and the registration of their parentage. It may not, in any case, change their personal status, nor enlist them in formations or organizations subordinate to it. Should the local institutions be inadequate for the purpose, the Occupying Power shall make arrangements for the maintenance and education, if possible by persons of their own nationality, language and religion, of children who are orphaned or separated from their parents as a result of the war and who cannot be adequately cared for by a near relative or friend. "
53. Under the Rome Statute, incorporated into Brazilian law by Decree No. 4388 of September 29, 2002, the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over the following crimes: (a) the crime of genocide; (b) crimes against humanity; (c) war crimes; and (d) crimes of aggression (art. 5). One Statute definition of “genocide” is the forcible transfer of children of the group to another group, carried out “with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” (art. 5, paragraph 2, 1). Enslavement is considered as one of the crimes against humanity (art. 7, paragraph 1, c). The Statute defines “enslavement” as “the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children” (art. 7, paragraph 2,c). For the purposes of judgment before the International Criminal Court, “crimes of war” means “grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention: (xxvi) Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into the national armed forces or using them to participate actively in hostilities.” In this case, Brazil complies with the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which establishes 18 as the minimum age.
54. Brazil is part to Convention 182 and to Recommendation No. 190 of the International Labor Organization concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, of June 17, 1999. Convention 182 has been in force in Brazil since February 2, 2001 and has been incorporated into Brazilian law by Decree No. 3597 of September 12, 2000. According to art. 3a of Convention 182, one of the worst forms of child labor is “forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.”
55. Brazil is actively participating in the United Nations General Assembly’s and the United Nations Security Council’s discussions on the protection of children in armed conflicts. It has also taken active part, for instance, in the negotiations and adoption of Resolutions 1261 (1999), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), and 1998 (2011) adopted by the Security Council5.
56. Brazil is a traditional co-sponsor of the General Assembly resolution on the Rights of the Child, which every year includes some provisions regarding the protection of children affected by armed conflict.6