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A notice in Yangon saying the army does not accept underage recruitment.

The army has taken action against 327 soldiers who were involved in underage recruitment last year.

The Tatmadaw is now...


Myanmar Regime Makes Military Training Compulsory for Soldiers' Children

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Myanmar’s military has made it mandatory for children of its personnel to undergo military training as it seeks to prepare reserve forces, despite such training being against both Myanmar and international law. 

“Among the trainees are teenage children. The military has made the training mandatory for all children old enough to carry a gun. Even my child had to attend,” said a sergeant from a regional command who has now defected.   

However, Myanmar’s Child Rights Law expressly prohibits providing military training to children with the intention of using them to serve in the military, as does the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, said one child rights activist. 

Read the full story published on 07 December 2021 by The Irrawaddy here.


Asian Youth Consider Political Career Despite Barriers

By Peera Songkunnatham

“I have to become a politician,” said Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a university student well-known in Thailand for his outspoken criticism of Thai schooling. “Even though I’ve given multiple interviews saying that I didn’t want to become a politician at all; I actually hated politicians. But I’ve changed my mind.”

Running against the current of political apathy and disillusionment among youth, Chotiphatphaisal is part of a new wave of youth in Asia considering running for public office to effect change. These young people articulate a willingness to engage in formal politics, but also a need to reform the political system from within.

But first they must overcome the many social and legal barriers in their countries, restrictions on participation that are often rooted in age, gender, and ethnic discrimination.


Five countries where child soldiers are still recruited

By Jared Ferrie, Irin News

Colombia’s largest guerrilla group has agreed to release all of its soldiers under age 15. It is a move welcomed by child rights groups but it also highlights the continued use of child soldiers in conflicts around the world.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) made the pledge during talks in Cuba aimed at ending its five-decade war against successive governments. The administration of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC now need to decide upon the terms under which the child soldiers will be reintegrated into civilian life.


Myanmar army releases 53 more child soldiers: UN

By Joshua Carroll, Anadolu Agency

(YANGON) Myanmar released another 53 child soldiers from its notorious armed forces Monday, according to the United Nations' children's agency.

The 53 are the latest to be discharged under a deal signed in 2012 between the former pariah state and the UN to end the recruitment and use of children by the military.

Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN resident coordinator, said in a statement that Monday's release "is the result of continued efforts of the Government of Myanmar and the Tatmadaw [army] to put an end to the harmful practice of recruiting and using children."

Lok-Dessallien, who also serves as co-chair of the UN task force for monitoring and reporting violations against children, said she was "delighted to see these children and young people returning to their homes and families," The Irrawaddy news service reported.


MPs back signing of optional protocol on child soldiers

By Ei Ei Toe Lwin, The Myanmar Times

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has approved an optional international protocal which aims to keep children out of armed conflict.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a proposal to proceed with the ratification of the United Nations protocol to parliament on August 20. It was approved without objection yesterday.

The optional protocol – an addition to the Convention on the Rights of the Child – requires states to “take all feasible measures” to ensure that soldiers under the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities. They are also required to raise the voluntary recruitment age above 15 years, and cannot conscript anyone under 18. Parties to the optional protocol must also take measures to stop non-state armed groups from recruiting and using children under the age of 18 in conflicts.


Myanmar military freed record 418 child soldiers in 2014, UN confirms

Myanmar's military freed more than 400 child soldiers last year, the United Nations has confirmed, a record number since the Tatmadaw army signed a 2012 pact with the UN on the issue.

There are no verifiable figures on how many children are currently serving in Myanmar's huge military, which has faced a slew of accusations over rights abuses, including the forced recruitment of children to work as porters or even human mine detectors.

Since the pact was signed, a total of 595 children have been freed, with 70 per cent of the releases - 418 - taking place in the last 12 months, including 42 on Friday, the UN said.

"Within a one-year period of time, this is a record number of children coming out of the armed forces, reflecting the accelerated efforts of the government of Myanmar and the Tatmadaw to put an end to the harmful practice of recruiting and using children," said Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN resident coordinator in Myanmar.


Burma’s child soldiers return home to face a fresh set of challenges

Photo: The Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project

For boys released from the army after being illegally recruited, access to education, jobs and social protection will be difficult

Dressed in white shirts over their green sarongs, dozens of young men poured down the concrete step of the army barracks and across the compound. With parents in tow, they walked towards a line of buses parked beyond the barbed-wire perimeter. Once everyone was seated, the buses moved off. The young men stared out of darkened windows; some looked blank while others, smiling, waved at the grey slab buildings as they receded into the distance.

Recruited illegally as children, the 108 boys were returning home to their families after being formally discharged from the Burmese military. Some had come straight from active service, while others had emerged from hiding or been released from prison, where they were jailed for desertion.


Myanmar frees 96 child soldiers from armed forces, but children are still in the military


Myanmar's army has freed 96 children and young people from its armed forces, the United Nations has said. This was the largest single release of child recruits in Myanmar since the country's government entered into an agreement with the UN in 2012 on the issue. The army has released a total of 272 children and youth over the past 18 months, but has not completely stopped its use of children. According to Al Jazeera, no record of verifiable figures exists to prove how many children currently serve in Myanmar's military.

Children in Myanmar have been widely used in armed conflict by both state armed forces and non-state armed groups.


Army in Myanmar still recruiting children

Photo: Democratic Voice of Burma

Research from Child Soldiers International suggests that the Burmese military is still recruiting children, one year after the Myanmar government made a commitment to the United Nations to stop doing so. Whilst they did release 66 children from the military last month, many more remain. The Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Armed Forces) has continued to recruit since it signed the Joint Action Plan with the UN last year, although in lower numbers than those previously reported.

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