Tatmadaw discharges another 51 minors from military service

Senior military officers explain purpose of discharging child soldiers.—MNA
Senior military officers explain purpose of discharging child soldiers.—MNA

Yangon, 4 June —The Myanmar Armed Forces discharged 51 children and young people from military service Thursday, bringing the annual total to 93, UNICEF Myanmar said in a press release.
UNICEF Myanmar said the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) on Grave Violations against Children commended the Myanmar government on its latest progress, saying that it continues to work in partnership with the government to completely end the involvement of children in armed conflict.
A total of 646 minors have returned to civilian life since the signing of a Joint Action Plan between the government and the United Nations in 2012, UNICEF Myanmar said.
Ms Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, said that “recruitment and use of underage children is against both international and Myanmar standards.”
“We welcome the official discharge of the children, including those who were accused of desertion – and for not punishing them – as we formally recognize through today’s discharge that they should not have been in the army in the first place,” said Ms Lok-Dessallien, who is also co-chair of the CTFMR.
Mr Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Myanmar’s chief representative and also co-chair of the CTFMR, stressed the need for long-term efforts and continued funding for the reintegration programme for the minors discharged from the military.
“UNICEF and its partners support the Myanmar government’s commitment to ensuring its children are protected and have access to their basic rights,” he added.
In 2007, the armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, as well as seven non-state armed groups in Myanmar, were named on the UN Secretary-General’s list of parties to conflict who recruit and use children. — GNLM

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