Myanmar military discharges 75 child soldiers | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

28 September, Tuesday

Myanmar military discharges 75 child soldiers

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Myanmar military on Saturday claimed it has ended underage recruitment as 75 more child soldiers were discharged from service.
 
Myanmar, which has for years been listed among countries where children have been recruited to fight -- both by government forces and rebels, signed an agreement with the UN in 2012 to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
 
A Myanmar army official said 75 more child soldiers were discharged on Friday, bringing the total underage recruits to 924 since 2012.
 
“We admitted that there were recruitment and use of child soldiers in the past. But we are committed to ending it as the peace process begins. That is why we signed an agreement with the UN in 2012,” the official at the defense ministry said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
 
“This release is part of our effort to end the use of underage soldiers,” he added.
 
He, however, refused to give the estimated number of soldiers who were underage at the time of recruitment and are currently serving in the military.
 
Virginia Gamba, special representative of the secretary-general for the UN's Children and Armed Conflict, welcome the move.
 
“Releasing these children and young people is a step forward in the implementation of the Joint Action Plan signed in 2012 by the Government of Myanmar and in strengthening the protection framework for the children in the country,” Gamba said in a statement late Friday.
 
It said the release, the first to take place since the beginning of the year, follows her visit to Myanmar in May 2018.
 
However, Myanmar military and seven other groups remained "'persistent perpetrators' in the recruitment and use of children in Myanmar", according to the UN.

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