Monday, 18 November 2019

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UN welcomes release of 24 child soldiers

The United Nations on Monday said it welcomed the release of 24 children by Myanmar’s armed forces, and called for further discharges of underage soldiers by the government in line with its commitment made last year to end the practice.

“Last June, the UN and the Government of Myanmar signed an action plan that sets a timetable and measurable activities for the release and reintegration of children associated with Government armed forces, as well as the prevention of further recruitment,” said a report by the UN News Centre.

According to UNICEF, the 24 children were officially discharged on Monday at a ceremony in Yangon, which was attended by senior officials of the armed forces and the government.

“This release of 24 children is a welcome step in the implementation of the action plan by the Government and reflects its commitment that children should not, and will no longer, be recruited and used for military purposes,” stated UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar Ashok Nigam.

“I call for the acceleration of the release of all children from the Tatmadaw and for the non-State armed groups to also do the same,” he added.

Speaking at the ceremony, Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF’s Representative in Myanmar, said that “a series of discharges just like this must accelerate in the coming months in order for the Tatmadaw [Myanmar armed forces] to quickly achieve the double objective of zero under-age recruitment and full discharge of those that are under 18 in the armed forces.”


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