According to a new report published in Die Welt, the German military recruited a record number of underage soldiers last year. Despite efforts from Germany’s Die Linke (Left Party) to end underage recruitments, the military has come back saying everything is being done in accordance with the law.
German law allows for individuals to sign up for military service at the age of 17, but parental permission is required. Unlike those who are 18 and older, they are unable to serve guard duties or take part in foreign combat operations.
Since abolishing its required military service law in 2011, the Bundeswehr has relied on a series of advertising campaigns to make serving the country more appealing to a younger audience. 689 underage recruits joined the military in 2011 when the requirement was lifted, but four years later, that number soared to 1,576.
Die Linke has called this number a scandal and is pushing for a motion that would ban all recruitment efforts for all underage soldiers, under the claim that it undermines Germany’s authority in the protection of children’s rights on a global level.
In a response to these criticisms, the Bundeswehr fired back with claims that they are operating in accordance with the normal international guidelines that legally allow for someone to volunteer for the army under the condition that they do not take part in any armed operations.