Cablegate: View From a Rangoon Street Kids Shelter

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: On October 21 the director of an NGO-funded
Rangoon street kids drop-in shelter reported an absence of
GOB impressment for portering and forced enlistment of street
children compared to previous years. The shelter director
believes the U.S. sanctions have increased local unemployment
as Rangoon-area companies are unable to pay for imported raw
materials and must layoff workers. However, she claimed the
closing of garment factories has not resulted in an increase
of street kids. END SUMMARY.


2. On October 21 visiting EAP/BCLTV Director and Poloff
toured an NGO-funded street kids drop-in shelter in Rangoon.
World Vision established the shelter in 1997, with the
mission to protect street children from abuse and educate
them on health and hygiene. The center provides a place to
stay for up to three years for about 10 girls and 40 boys who
are street orphans or whose parent(s) are living on the
streets themselves. The shelter's outreach program provides
much needed nutritional and medical care to children
suffering from malnutrition and other diseases associated
with poverty. Through word-of-mouth, the shelter attracts a
small fraction of the estimated thousands of children living
on the streets of Rangoon. Freedom to come and go during the
day is very appealing and allows some kids to find light work
in the nearby market to earn pocket money. One of the
Center's goals is to informally educate the street kids, who
have never attended state schools, by giving them an
equivalent to the GOB's minimum standard of a fourth-level


3. The Shelter director and three teenage residents reported
that they haven't heard of any cases in the past two years in
which street kids were press ganged in Rangoon for military
portering duties. Forced military recruiting has taken a
different turn as well. The Army recruiters still corral
underage teens to get them to join the military, but now
those who don't want to join are released. Recently, two
underage teens from the shelter were taken to join the army,
but one said "no thanks" and was allowed to return to the
shelter. The other, described as a difficult youth, was not
let go.


4. The shelter director claimed that sanctions have
increased local area unemployment because factories could not
pay for needed import materials and were forced to layoff
workers. However, there have not been any children of
garment factory workers turning up at the shelter.

5. COMMENT: This is the first report received of a
cessation in street children being forced into military
portering. It is also the first time post has heard that
army "recruiters" are giving underage teens the option to say
"no" to a recruitment pitch.

6. (U) This message was cleared by EAP/BCLTV Director Judith

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Save The Children: Ukraine: 21 Children Killed Or Injured In Horrific Week Of Violence

At least 21 children have been killed or injured in just a week in an uptick of violence across Ukraine, Save the Children said today... More>>

UN: Visionary ‘Blue Transformation’ Strategy To Enhance Underwater Food Systems

Record levels of fisheries and aquaculture production are making a critical contribution to global food security, the UN Ocean Conference under way in Lisbon, Portugal, heard on Wednesday...
Abu Akleh Shooting: Fatal Shot Came From Israeli Forces, Says OHCHR
Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank - not indiscriminate Palestinian firing - the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday... More>>

UN Ocean Conference: Opens With Call For Urgent Action To Tackle Ocean Emergency
With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean — critical to food security, economic growth and the environment... More>>

World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>

Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>