Myanmar releases child soldiers

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Many children who once worked for armed groups need reintegration help, according to children’s rights NGOs. Photo: Naresh Newar/IRIN

The United Nations on Monday welcomed the release of 42 children by the Myanmar Armed Forces, known as the Tatmadaw.

The children were released to their families on Sunday in the presence of senior Government officials as well as representatives from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar.

The UN is calling for accelerating the discharge of the remaining children within the ranks of the army.

By the terms of an action plan signed with the UN last year, the Myanmar Government agreed to find and release all children recruited by the Tatmadaw.

It also agreed to discharge and facilitate the children's quick reintegration into their families and their communities.

In his recent report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict in Myanmar, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the fact that, while children are still being recruited into the Tatmadaw following the signing of the action plan, the number of new recruits has decreased.

Through Monday's discharge and by moving away from recruiting new children, the Myanmar Government and its armed forces continue to demonstrate their desire to end this deeply saddening practice, said UNICEF Representative Bertrand Bainvel.

Gerry Adams.

Duration: 1’26″


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