Harmoniously solve the prevention of recruitment of child soldiers


Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military, does not deploy child soldiers and returns underage recruits to their parents or guardians upon verification. To reinforce this stance, the Tatmadaw established the Committee on the Prevention of Recruitment of Child Soldiers on 5 January 2004.
On 27 June 2012, the government and the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) signed the Plan of Action on the Prevention of Recruitment of Child Soldiers to remove the Tatmadaw from the UN Secretary-General’s report on child soldiers. Following this agreement, the Tatmadaw has released 1,057 child soldiers, handing them over to their parents in collaboration with UNCTFMR.
Additionally, 120 more child soldiers, including nine identified by CTFMR, will undergo verification for release. Currently, the Tatmadaw recruits new members according to laws and regulations approved by the Committee on the Prevention of Recruitment of Child Soldiers and CTFMR, with CTFMR regularly updated on progress.
A small team meeting between the Committee on the Prevention of Recruitment of Child Soldiers and CTFMR was held on 22 February 2024 to approve the list of recruits. Meanwhile, the government is implementing the People’s Military Service Law, enacted in 2010. Since 10 February 2024, recruitment bodies have been systematically enlisting eligible citizens, ensuring no one under 18 is recruited.
The 2023 UN Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict accused the Tatmadaw, affiliated organizations, and people’s militia of recruiting 1,102 children and committing six serious violations. However, the CTFMR only reported the recruitment of nine underage soldiers in 2023. The Tatmadaw contested the UN report, asserting it exaggerated the numbers. The military has sent factual rebuttals to the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (UNSRSG), emphasizing the need for fairness in such high-level reports.
Myanmar has sincerely been joining hands with the UN agencies in the prevention of the recruitment of child soldiers for many years. Whenever authorities know what is wrongly recruiting child soldiers, they hand them over to parents and guardians without delay and release information about the progress of work in a transparent manner.
In fact, the United Nations need to release reports on any country righteously and objectively. The report on the prevention of recruitment of child soldiers should not be built on unapproved sources and facts obtained from anti-government groups, rootless accusations and uncorrected figures. As such, the UNSG report should not exaggerate the actions of Tatmadaw, and UN agencies need to join hands with Tatmadaw through a positive approach.

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14 July 2024