German army has record number of underage soldiers

The Bundeswehr currently has a record number of soldiers under the age of 18 since Germany did away with conscription in 2011, according to figures from a Die Linke (Left Party) inquiry to the Defence Ministry, seen by Die Welt.

The number of new underage recruits had increased from 689 in 2011 to 1,576 last year – which was more than seven percent of total recruitment of 21,092 people in 2015.

Despite the force now being a purely voluntary one, a report in August showed that hundreds of soldiers have requested to leave the army in the past two years.

In 2014, the UN Committee on the Rights of Children told Germany that it should raise its recruitment age.

Left party politicians called the recruitment of underage soldiers “a scandal”.

“The Bundeswehr’s recruitment of minors must finally come to an end.”

The Left Party plans to bring forth on Thursday a proposal in the German parliament (Bundestag) to halt the recruitment of underage soldiers and their weapons training.

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