2.2.3 Call-up and induction


Where those liable for obligatory military service are not seized by force they must at some stage, with or without registration, and after any selection process has been followed, be summoned to report for military service. Many sources use the word draft for this process, but for the reasons explained on page 14, in this paper call-up is used instead.

Whatever it is called in local terminology and at whatever point it arrives, the call-up notice will instruct the conscript to report at a certain place at a certain time. It is normal that large numbers of recruits are called up at the same time. The Russian Federation, for instance, has two annual call-ups, in Spring and Autumn, as has Eritrea since 1994. The recruitment rounds there are still individually identified, so that a conscript could report, In April 2000 I was called up for national service in the 13th round.[1] In both these cases there are conscripts in the armed forces who have served for different lengths of time; in other countries, for example Brazil, only one round of conscripts generally serves at a time.

Sometimes (as in Turkey and the Russian Federation, and as is envisaged under the current legislation in the USA) medical examination does not take place until this point, so that some of those summoned will be deemed unfit. For all others, however, this will represent the precise moment of induction into military service. In English this would usually be called enlistment, but as has been explained on page13, this can cause ambiguity when there is a pre-registration system. Similarly draft, however used, does not apply to a precise moment.


Induction literally means to draw in. There is no connection with induce; the verb is to induct. Although a term rather less familiar outside the USA, it refers less ambiguously than all the alternatives to the precise moment of joining the armed forces.

There is usually some form of induction ceremony which often places great importance on the taking of the military oath before the new recruits are issued with uniform and transported to barracks or training camp. No generalisation is complete, however. The taking of the oath may not occur until a later stage. In Hungary, conscripts did not take the military oath until three weeks after induction. In the USA, a preliminary stage involves lining the new recruits up and ordering them to take one step forward. Those who do not do so have refused induction.

Moreover, there is some confusion about whether induction takes place before or after training, and therefore at what point recruits become members of the armed forces. India, reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2003,[2] stated Persons who are recruited at the age of 16 undergo basic military training for up to two and a half years from the date of enrolment and are then inducted into regular service..

  • [1] Testimony by Musse Habtemichael in Connection eV Germany, War Resisters International and Eritrean Anti-Militarist Initiative Eritrea: Conscientious Objection and Desertion (WRI, London, 2005)
  • [2] UN Document CRC/C/93/Add.5, 16th July 2003.