46 child soldiers returned to families by Myanmar army

Ministry of Information says since June 2012 more than 700 child soldiers released by army

46 child soldiers returned to families by Myanmar army

World Bulletin / News Desk

Myanmar's armed forces have discharged a further 46 child soldiers, taking the number of children released from its ranks in the past four years to 744.

A statement on the Ministry of Information's website said that the soldiers were returned to their families Saturday in Yangon.

For decades, human rights groups have listed both the army (the Tatmadaw) and the country's various ethnic rebel groups as recruiting child soldiers.

The statement said that since June 2012, when the government signed a joint action plan with the United Nations to end the recruitment and use of children in its armed forces, more than 700 have been released by the army.

"A total of 744 underage recruits in 12 batches were freed from the military so far," it read.

Since taking power in 2011, the quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein -- a former junta leader -- has implemented reforms to end a half-century long civil war with dozens of ethnic rebel groups.

However, only eight rebel groups signed a government-initiated Nationwide Cease-fire Agreement in October last year, with at least 13 holding out.

Meanwhile, fighting between government troops and rebels in some parts of the country, especially in northern Kachin state and eastern Shan state, continues.

The United Nations has reported that at least seven of the rebel forces continue to use child soldiers.

Last Mod: 13 Mart 2016, 14:47
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