53 child soldiers released in Myanmar

Nay Pyi Taw, Nov 30 (IANS) Myanmar has released 53 more child soldiers who were recruited and used in military service, bringing the total number of such children discharged in 2015 to 146, according to an official statement on Monday.

Since June 2012, when the Myanmar government committed to ending the recruitment and use of children in its armed forces by signing a Joint Action Plan with the UN, 699 children have been released by the army, the UNICEF statement said.

“Children don’t belong in the military, and all parties have the duty to end children’s suffering from ongoing conflicts in Myanmar,” said Renata Lok-Dessallien, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar and co-chair of the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) on grave violations against children.

In addition to the armed forces, seven armed groups in Myanmar were named on the UN Secretary-General’s list of parties to conflict who recruit and use children in 2007, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UN has started dialogue with several of these seven ethnic armed groups to discuss the possibility of signing action plans to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children under 18.

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