The United Kingdom's declaration upon signing the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (UN Doc CRC/C/16 Annex IV)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandUpon signature:
"The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will take allfeasible measures to ensure that members of its armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.
The United Kingdom understands that article 1 of the Optional Protocol would not exclude the deployment of members of its armed forces under the age of 18 to take a direct part in hostilities where: -
a) there is a genuine military need to deploy their unit or ship to an area in which hostilities are taking place; and
b) by reason of the nature and urgency of the situation:-
i) it is not practicable to withdraw such persons before deployment; or
ii) to do so would undermine the operational effectiveness of their ship or unit, and thereby put at risk the successful completion of the military mission and-or the safety of other personnel."