Around Asia: “Not enough” child soldiers freed in Myanmar

Myanmar has reportedly freed dozens of child soldiers, a move by the formerly military junta-ruled nation towards ending recruitment among the youth.

Myanmar discharged 68 children and young people from military service, including those recruited as minors who grew up in the army, the United Nations said Wednesday.

A total of 176 child soldiers have been released in little over a year. While recruitment has since decreased, child soldiers are still among army ranks.

There are no verifiable figures on how many children are currently serving in Myanmar’s military, long accused of rights abuses including the forced recruitment of children and other civilians, reports AFP.

Children were also recruited by ethnic rebels in Myanmar, the UN said.

Although Wednesday’s releases was lauded as a “positive step” toward achieving the Myanmar’s commitment to end child recruitment, the UN called for a “mass release” of child soldiers.

“I have always said the military is not a place for a child to grow up. We are very happy for the children and young people being discharged today,” said Ashok Nigam, the UN’s resident coordinator in Myanmar.

Robbed of their childhood, thousands of juveniles were forced into fighting both in the military and rebel armies in Myanmar.

by Maesie Bertumen

Image: David Chico Pham/Flickr

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