Cablegate: Burma Caac - Talking Points for 12/06 Meeting


DE RUEHC #3971 3400011
O P 052352Z DEC 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. This is an action cable. See paragraph 2.

2. USUN is instructed to attend the Burma CAAC meeting on
12/06 at a high level if possible (French PermRep will chair
the meeting. The British and the Belgians are sending their
DPRs) USUN may draw from the following talking points during
discussions of Burma CAAC.

Begin points.

-- The United States welcomes the first report from the
Secretary General on Burma CAAC and its recommendations

contained therein.

-- The United States is deeply concerned about the continuing
recruitment and use of child soldiers in Burma. According to
the UN and the various NGOs operating in the area, the
Tatmadaw Kyi recruits and uses children as young as 12 years
old, as do certain non-state actors. The United States
condemns this unlawful practice and calls upon the Burmese
regime and the non-state actors active in Burma to end
immediately all unlawful child recruitment and their use in
the armed forces and in armed groups. Furthermore, the U.S.
strongly urges the SPDC and the non-state actors to assist in
reuniting former child soldiers with their families.

-- The United States notes the establishment of various
mechanisms by the Burmese regime to address the problem of
child soldiers in the national army, but also notes with deep
concern the inability of the UN or the NGO community to
verify any progress by the SPDC on the issue of CAAC due to
the regime's failure to comply with its commitment to provide
unfettered access to the UN Country Team (UNCT).

- The United States calls on the SPDC to provide to the UNCT
free and confidential access to relevant people and areas,
which include timely freedom to travel for the purpose of
verifying information without the presence of regime
officials. Only when the UN has the freedom to travel
independently and without advance notice to recruiting
stations, military barracks, and to meet with all non-state
actors will the world be able to know the truth about
children in armed conflict in Burma.

-- The SG's report states that the "Myanmar Defense Council"
Military Directives explicitly prohibit recruitment of
children less than 18 years of age. Yet, the report also
notes that recruitment brokers often receive large incentives
for each new recruit regardless of age. According to the
report, some child recruits are poor and homeless, lured into
the military by promises of food and shelter. Other children
are picked up by the national police simply for not carrying
forms of identification and are given the choice of military
service or jail. Once at the recruiting centers, these
children are often told to lie about their age to give the
appearance of compliance with the military directives. This
information is consistent with what is reported by various
NGOs operating in the area. In one case an 11 year old boy
told Human Rights Watch that after he failed his recruitment
medical for being only 4'3" tall and 70 pounds, the recruiter
bribed the medical officer to ensure his enlistment.

-- The Burmese regime claims that it has taken disciplinary
action against child recruiters in Burma, however, to date
neither the UN nor the NGO community has been able to verify
SPDC claims that those responsible for underage recruitment
have been disciplined or prosecuted. According to the
Secretary-General's report the Burmese regime incarcerates

children for up to five years in prison if convicted of
desertion from their military posts. The United States
agrees wholeheartedly with paragraph 11 of the report which
states, "international practice and principles stipulate that
children who have been unlawfully recruited or used by armed
forces should not be treated as deserters."
-- The United States also notes with deep concern paragraph
36 of the SG's report that states the UN received credible
reports indicating that during 2006-2007 government armed
forces in Kayin state attacked villagers, which resulted in
the death and injury of children. The United States is
equally disturbed by what the UN categorized in paragraph 39
as "credible but unverified" reports of rapes perpetrated by
regime forces and armed groups, not just due to the heinous
nature of these crimes, but because the Burmese regime
refuses to allow the UN to investigate and verify these

-- The United States calls on the SPDC to lift all
restrictions on access to conflict-affected areas and to
allow international and humanitarian organizations access to
these areas for the delivery of humanitarian services. We
also call on the military regime to work with the UNCT to
codify guarantees of security for victims, monitors, and
individuals reporting cases of child recruitment and to
facilitate the provision of visas, in-country travel
authorizations, unhindered access, confidentiality and
security of the UNCT in all aspects of its operations.

-- The United States endorses the components of a revised
Action Plan laid out in paragraph 47 of the SG's report. The
United States urges an interim report on Burma in three
months to be followed by a full report in six to check the
progress of the Burmese regime in providing unrestricted
access to the UNCT and in the implementation of their plan of
action on CAAC.

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