Aug 08, 2013

    Myanmar army releases child soldiers

    MYANMAR'S army has freed 68 children and young people from military service, the United Nations said yesterday, calling for a "mass release" of child soldiers in the formerly junta-run nation.

    The release is the biggest such move since the UN signed an agreement on the issue in June last year with Myanmar's reformist regime and "tatmadaw" army, which for years recruited children to bolster its ranks.

    In a little over a year, 176 children and young people have been discharged from the military, which has decreased - but not yet stopped - the recruitment of children into the armed forces.

    There are no verifiable figures on how many children are serving in Myanmar's huge military, which has faced a slew of accusations of rights abuses, including the forced recruitment of children and other civilians to work as porters or even human mine detectors.

    Ending rights violations is a key demand of the international community, which has embraced reforms in Myanmar since the end of outright junta rule in 2011.