Report documents child abuse cases near Dawei economic zone

News and Press Release
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Tuesday, 17 January 2012 16:03 Kyaw Kha

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – More than 150 child soldier and child labour cases have been documented in Yephyu Township, Taninthayi Region, in southern Burma, according to the Human Rights Foundation of Monland.

From May to October 2011, a total of 179 child abuse cases were found in Ye and Yephyu townships, of which 114 were child labour cases and 52 were child soldier cases, according to a survey. The area is near the Dawei deep-sea port special economic zone.

A report, “Coercion, Cruelty and Collateral Damage,” was released in Mae Sot, on the Burmese-Thai border, on January 13, which will be submitted to the U.N.

“Some children have to guard the gas pipeline, some were recruited to government troops, and some are working on road building projects as either wage workers or as substitutes for their parents,” said Thuta Zin of the Women and Child Rights Project, one of the compilers of the report.

The report also documents children killed and maimed by landmines and victims of sexual abuse. Both Burmese government troops, Karen National Union (KNU) and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) troops operate in the area.

Foundation director Nai Kasaw Mon said the government should emphasize the eradication of child soldiers and child labour in the territories concerned during cease-fire talks.

“After completing the cease-fire talks, it should work for the elimination of child soldiers and forced labor among children and then they should emphasize help for these children who are behind in education and health due to these conflicts,” Nai Kasaw Mon told Mizzima.

If a genuine cease-fire and peace cannot be built between the Burmese government and ethnic armed groups, the child soldier issue, child labour and other human rights violations will continue to occur, Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) Director Aung Myo Min said.

Foundation director Nai Kasaw Mon said that their study on six points of child rights outlined in UN Security Council resolution 1612. Burma signed the UN Child Rights Convention in 1991, but the convention is still being violated by both government troops and ethnic armed forces, Nai Kasaw Mon said.

HURFOM will send its report to the Burmese government departments concerned, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), domestic human rights organizations and elected MPs from the constituencies concerned.