Myanmar + 2 more

Myanmar: Stop use of child soldiers - Rights group

by Phanida

Chiang Mai - Child soldiers continue to be used in armed conflicts in Burma, a rights group activists said.

The Thai based 'Human Right Education Institute for Burma' (HREIB) has compiled a report titled 'Forgotten Future' after interacting and interviewing 119 child soldiers in refugee camps inside Burma along borders with India, Thailand and China.

"The child soldiers used in armed conflicts in Burma are unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives. These children are deprived of a pleasant, happy and active life. They are always sad and their existence and future are forgotten. So I would like to urge all rights and democracy activists to join in striving for the welfare and rights movement for these children," Aung Myo Min, Director of HREIB said.

Interviews were conducted with parents of child soldiers, school teachers, leaders' of social organizations, armed organizations and workers. The report focused on six child rights violation mentioned in the UNSC resolution 1612.

The violations include killing children, sexual harassment, arrests, using them as child soldiers, denial of humanitarian assistance, attacking schools and hospitals where children stay.

The regional rights group 'Asia Human Right Watch' said that there are 70,000 child soldiers in the Burmese Army and the number keeps mounting.

But the Burmese junta consistently denies the use of child soldiers in its army when accused by UN and the international community.

Similarly the HREIB (Burma) is advocating and persuading the Karen National Union (KNU), Karenni Army, Kachin New Democracy Army, Chin National Army and the Kachin Independence Army to stop recruiting and using child soldiers.