Committee aims to protect minors from military service

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Deputy Prime Minister MoD Union Minister Admiral Tin Aung San chairs the first meeting of the Committee on the Prevention of Recruitment of Child Soldiers yesterday.

The Committee on the Prevention of Recruitment of Child Soldiers convened its first meeting yesterday morning at the Ministry of Defence, presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister for Defence Admiral Tin Aung San and attended by committee members from various ministries.
Admiral Tin Aung San, who is also the committee chairman, emphasized that the committee was established on 5 January 2004, with its primary objective to prevent the recruitment and deployment of underage children as soldiers in the military. The committee remains vigilant, rejecting suspicious enlistments and ensuring that any underage soldiers are promptly returned to their families.
In an effort to address the inclusion of Tatmadaw (Army) in the UN Secretary-General’s report, the Myanmar Government collaborated with the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) to establish the Plan of Action. This plan focuses on the protection and prevention of underage children from serving in the military.
As part of this initiative, 1,057 underage soldiers who were mistakenly recruited before reaching the age of majority have been allowed to be withdrawn from the military. The systematic process involves transferring these soldiers back to their parents, facilitated by both the military and the UNCTFMR.
In 2023, the CTFMR reviewed cases involving nine suspected underage soldiers. A total of 120 individuals were identified for removal from the previous list. Currently, Tatmadaw adheres to laws, regulations, and provisions agreed upon by the CTFMR and the Prevention Committee on the Prevention of Underage Children from Military Service. Recruitment procedures strictly follow established rules, and awareness activities are coordinated with relevant ministries. Regular committee meetings aim to ensure that no child soldiers is employed in the military and that the CTFMR is promptly informed of meeting decisions.
The Committee on the Prevention of Recruitment of Child Soldiers maintains ongoing communication with the CTFMR. Recently, the chairperson met the CTFMR on 22 February 2024, engaging in discussions with technical co-chairs and a small team to clarify and verify the list.
The enactment of the People’s Military Service Law in 2010 has led to its implementation, with various conscription groups ensuring that individuals under the age of 18 are not included in the country’s military call-up.
In 2023, the United Nations Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict highlighted recruitment practices. Affiliated groups and militias associated with Tatmadaw recruited 1,102 children, and Tatmadaw faced accusations of six serious crimes. The report prompted objections, and response information was sent to the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (UNSRSG). These findings were disseminated through television broadcasts and official news channels.
During a subsequent meeting, committee members and representatives discussed the progress of working groups focused on preventing minor children from serving in the military. They clarified the status of previous decisions and recommended conditions for implementation across relevant sectors. Committee Chair Admiral Tin Aung San emphasized the importance of their efforts.
Finally, Admiral Tin Aung San delivered the closing speech, concluding the committee meeting. — MNA/TS

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