World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Child Soldiers Use Continues In Myanmar, Burundi


Use of child soldiers continues in Myanmar and Burundi, says top UN official

Despite calls to stop the abominable practice, children continue to be recruited and used as child soldiers in Myanmar and Burundi, according to the United Nations envoy for children in armed conflict who has just presented two new reports on the issue.

"The issue of recruitment and use of children continues to be a problem in Myanmar both with regard to the Government and various non-state actors," stated Radhika Coomaraswamy, who yesterday presented the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of children and armed conflict in Myanmar to the Security Council Working Group dealing with the matter.

Although there has been progress in terms of dialogue with the Myanmar Government and two non-State actors, the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the report notes that "State and non-State actors continue to be implicated in grave child rights violations."

Ms. Coomaraswamy also raised concerns about the issue of access for UN monitors in Myanmar, stating that "the Government should provide the UN country team with free access to conflict areas and to recruitment centres so that monitoring and reporting can be performed effectively and all the information can be verified."

Among other issues cited were difficulties with age verification, reports of children convicted and sentenced for desertion, and lack of humanitarian access. "Children are the first to be affected by a humanitarian crisis," she said. "There is a real urgency for a humanitarian needs assessment in the conflict areas in order to devise proper programmatic responses for the most vulnerable."

However, she stressed that the efforts of the Working Group and the monitoring and reporting mechanism established by the Council had already led to commitments by some parties to stop the recruitment and use of children.

The Government has adopted directives that explicitly prohibit the recruitment of children under 18 and set up a high-level Committee for the Prevention of Military Recruitment of Underage Children, she noted. The KNU and the KNPP have also signed deeds of commitment that are currently being finalized.

With regard to Burundi, Ms. Coomaraswamy condemned new reported cases of recruitment and use of children by the Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL). She also criticized the attitude of armed groups that have been recruiting children by promising them demobilization benefits for which they were not eligible.

In addition, she deplored the alarming increase of cases of rape and sexual violence in the country, a concern that was also raised by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his recent report on Burundi. "The 80 per cent rise in reported cases show that [the] dawning of peace has unfortunately not heralded a more secure environment for women, boys and girls in Burundi," she stated.

Ms. Coomaraswamy was pleased to note that the UN system had begun a series of activities together with Government ministries to address this problem, and called for sustained political will and commitment to fight impunity for such crimes.

Mr. Ban's Executive Representative for Burundi told reporters in New York today that the UN is aware that there are under-age persons among the alleged FNL dissidents, and stressed that the UN is ready, willing and able to take care of those identified as children.

"We have sent that message to the FNL, to the Government, that if there are children among these alleged dissidents, we would be prepared to take care of their needs and they should not be in the camps," Youssef Mahmoud stated.

ENDS

More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

ALSO:

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC