31 August 2018 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, welcomes the release of 75 children and young people* by the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar Armed Forces, following sustained advocacy work by the United Nations.
“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. These boys and girls will finally have an opportunity to reclaim their childhood, their life,” SRSG Gamba said.
The release, the first to take place since the beginning of the year, follows a visit by SRSG Gamba to Myanmar in May 2018 where she met with several Government officials and strongly advocated for the release of all children, as well as access to Rakhine, Shan and Kahn State and the adoption of the child rights law.
“I am encouraged by the positive actions taken by the Government of Myanmar following my visit and I call for continued collaboration with the UN for the completion of the Joint Action Plan, including the release of all remaining children from the Tatmadaw’s rank,” she added. This release follows the Government of Myanmar’s request to OSRSG-CAAC to develop a training for all Defense personnel on preventing all six violations against children; SRSG Gamba welcomes this request and encourages the Government to take all necessary measures to better protect children in this regard.
She reminded of the importance to provide long-term and sustainable reintegration support to all released children, including psychosocial support, education and livelihood services, and further asked the authorities to put in place a reliable structure to address suspected cases of child recruitment.
SRSG Gamba remains concerned over the documented incidents of killing and maiming and rape and other forms of sexual violence against children for which the Tatmadaw has been listed in the 2017 Secretary-General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict.
Note to editors
* At the time of recruitment, all were children; some are now over 18.
The Government of Myanmar signed a Joint Action Plan with the United Nations on 27 June 2012 to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by the Tatmadaw Kyi (Myanmar Armed Forces). In September 2014, the Government adopted a workplan for compliance to accelerate the implementation of the Action Plan.
Despite the ongoing peace process between the Government and a number of armed groups, conflict intensified in 2016 in areas include Kachin and Shan states. In the 2017 Secretary-General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, in addition to the recruitment and use of children, the Tatmadaw has been listed for two additional violations (killing and maiming of children and rape and other forms of sexual violence). The Government requested the Office of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict to train all Defense personnel on preventing all six grave violations against children as soon as possible.
For more information please contact:
Stephanie Tremblay, Fabienne Vinet – Communications Officers
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Tel: +1 212 963-8285
Mobile: +1 917 288-5791