Myanmar boys get their new National Registration Cards at a releasing ceremony [EPA]
July 8, 2013
Forty-two children released as country seeks to reduce the use of child soldiers after global outcry.
Myanmar has released 42 children and young people from its armed forces, encouraging increased efforts to reduce the use of child soldiers, the UN has said.
The former military-run nation, long accused of violating human rights, has decreased – but not completely halted – the number of children recruited to the army.
Ashok Nigam, the UN’s resident coordinator in Myanmar said, “We are very happy for the 42 children and their families today but we must accelerate efforts so that many more children benefit from release.”
According to the statement 34 of those freed were under 18 while the remaining eight were young people who had been recruited as children.
Myanmar released 42 children in September 2012 and a further 24 in February following an agreement with the UN.
There are no conclusive figures on how many children are currently serving in Myanmar’s large military, but the UN children’s fund UNICEF has said the army has released over 520 children since 2006.