The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/67/845–S/2013/245) issued on 15 May 2013.
In 2012, there were encouraging commitments and actions by the Government to prevent and end grave violations against children. The country task force, however, continued to document violations during the reporting period. Most took place during military clashes in Kachin and Shan States between the Tatmadaw Kyi and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and between the national armed forces and the Shan State Army North and the Shan State Army South. Other incidents resulted from bomb explosions and unexploded ordnance in Kayin State and Sagaing Region. To date, the country task force has remained constrained by capacity, access and security impediments that presented a challenge for comprehensive monitoring and verification.
While the number of cases of recruitment and use of children by the national armed forces decreased because of prevention measures and strengthened recruitment processes, recruitment and use of children remained of concern in 2012. The number of complaints of underage recruitment by the national armed forces increased from 236 in 2011 to 274 in 2012 as a result of enhanced awareness among the national armed forces and the general public of recruitment and the channels for raising such cases, including through the International Labour Organization (ILO) forced labour complaint mechanism, local-level child protection groups, national and international protection actors and direct approaches to military bases and relevant ministries. The country task force also received information that children had been deployed to the front line with exposure to both combat and non-combat duties. Nine children recruited by the national armed forces were deployed during the reporting period to Kachin State, where they were captured and detained by KIA, which notified ILO early in 2012 and released them in January 2013.
In addition, the country task force received reports of association of children with non-State armed groups. Verified reports indicated that children were present in the ranks of KIA and the United Wa State Army (UWSA). One case in April 2012 involved the abduction of three boys of 14 years of age by KIA from a village in Wine Maw township. The country task force also received information on the use of boys by UWSA to man checkpoints and secure offices. Reports further alleged that UWSA continued to require that one child in each family in the Wa autonomous zones be sent to UWSA for what it termed “military service”. Children were also reportedly present in the Karen National Liberation Army, the Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council and the Karenni Army.
Children were also victims of landmines, unexploded ordnance, mortar and grenade attacks and crossfire between the national armed forces and non-State armed groups. Late in 2012, hostilities intensified between the national armed forces and KIA in Kachin State, including air strikes and shelling by the national armed forces, in addition to the use of improvised explosive devices by KIA. The country task force verified that 13 boys and 4 girls between 3 and 17 years of age were killed in five incidents in Kayin State, Kachin State and Sagaing Region. The national armed forces and non-State armed groups (including the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army, the Karenni National Progressive Party/Karenni Army, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, UWSA and KIA) also continued to use landmines to restrict the movement of people, hinder the mobility of troops and mark areas of operations.
On 27 June 2012, the Government and the United Nations signed in the presence of my Special Representative an action plan to halt and prevent the recruitment and use of children by the national armed forces. Subsequently, a senior national armed forces liaison officer was appointed to oversee its implementation and a joint committee comprising the country task force and senior officials of the national armed forces and government ministries was created. The country task force and the national armed forces also developed detailed operational procedures for the identification, verification and discharge of children.
Throughout September 2012, military focal points in the national armed forces carried out training sessions on the action plan in each regional command, targeting officers responsible for the identification and registration of children within their battalions. The national armed forces also issued directives on the implementation of the action plan and developed communication materials for distribution to the military rank and file. In addition, the national armed forces launched a process of identification and verification that led to the discharge of 42 children in September 2012. The national armed forces reported that, since October 2012, a board had been established in each regional command to review the age of all new recruits. The Commander-in-Chief also issued a directive in which he stated that recruiters of children would face action under section 374 of the Myanmar Penal Code and section 65 of the Defence Services Act. In that regard, the Government reported to the country task force that, by the end of November 2012, 30 commissioned officers and 154 non-commissioned officers had been subjected to disciplinary measures for recruitment and use of children.
The country task force, however, remained concerned with regard to United Nations access to national armed forces operational regiments. In December 2012, the national armed forces informed the country task force that access to those regiments would be subject to consideration upon completion of United Nations monitoring of recruitment units and training facilities.
Pursuant to the action plan, the Government also committed itself to facilitating processes to end child recruitment by non-State armed groups and to facilitating the release and reintegration of all children within its sovereign territory. During the reporting period, however, efforts to secure the signature of the action plan and provision of support to identify and discharge children from the national armed forces were accorded priority.
In 2012, a total of 97 underage recruits were discharged from the national armed forces. Of those underage recruits, 42 were released under the framework of the action plan during a discharge ceremony in September 2012, while 45 were released under the ILO forced labour complaint mechanism. In October 2012, the country task force submitted 25 new cases of underage recruitment received through the ILO complaint mechanism to the national armed forces senior liaison officer for verification under the action plan framework. In addition, the Government reported that, in 2012, 538 potential new recruits had been rejected at the recruitment screening stage for being underage.
Parties in Myanmar
- Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) (a)
- Kachin Independence Army (KIA) (a)
- Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).This party has sought to conclude an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005), but the United Nations has been prevented from doing so by the Government of Myanmar (a)
- Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council (a)
- Karenni Army (KA).This party has sought to conclude an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005), but the United Nations has been prevented from doing so by the Government of Myanmar (a)
- Shan State Army South (SSA-S) (a)
- Tatmadaw Kyi, including integrated border guard forces.a This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005). (a)
- United Wa State Army (UWSA) (a)
(*) The parties underlined have been in the annexes for at least five years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators. (a) Parties that recruit and use children.