New York, 20 May 2013 – Myanmar is making progress towards the realization of its commitment to end the recruitment and use of children in its armed forces.
“The signature of an action plan in June 2012 was a major breakthrough and I commend the Government of Myanmar for taking important steps to better protect children,“ said Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
The action plan signed by Myanmar with the United Nations set a timetable for the release and reintegration of children associated with the Tatmadaw, the country’s national army armed forces. The Government also committed to put in place measures preventing future recruitment of underage soldiers.
In a report providing information on grave violations against children in Myanmar between April 2009 and January 2013, the Secretary-General noted that children continued to be recruited in the Tatmadaw, but that following the signature of the action plan, the number of new cases of recruitment has decreased.
Sixty-six children were released from the Tatmadaw since the signature of the action plan. Training for military personnel on how to implement the action plan is taking place and procedures for screening and documenting cases of underage recruitment have been strengthened. As a result, the Government is reporting that in 2012, over 500 children were rejected for military service.
“There’s a momentum to end the use and recruitment of child soldiers in Myanmar,” added the Special Representative. “Challenges remain though and cooperation between the Government, the United Nations and partners on the ground is crucial to ensure that lasting progress is achieved.”
Information about the action plan should be systematically disseminated beyond senior levels of the Tatmadaw and to affected communities throughout the country. While the army has allowed the United Nations to visit recruitment and training centers, access to all relevant locations where children might be present should be facilitated.
The recruitment and use of child soldiers in Myanmar is not limited to Government forces. The Special Representative calls on the seven non-State armed groups that are recruiting and using child soldiers to begin a dialogue with the United Nations.
Link to the Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar: undocs.org/S/2013/258
For additional information, contact:
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Office: +1 212 963 8285
Mobile: +1 917 288 5791