Myanmar still recruits child soldiers: report
Child Soldiers International reports levels of child recruitment have declined, and 42 children have been released from Myanmar's army since the government signed the agreement last June, but the outlawed practice continues, due to a lack of political will to implement safeguards.
Myanmar is one of about two dozen countries worldwide found by the UN to violate international law on the rights of children in armed conflicts. Ending the use of child soldiers has been among the litany of reforms sought by the US and other Western nations that have restored diplomatic ties with the Southeast Asian nation as it has begun to shift from five decades of oppressive military rule.
The government of President Thein Sein has shown willingness to reform by signing a joint action plan with the UN, but the London-based rights group says authorities have failed so far to monitor army recruitment systematically, and recruitment patterns appear unchanged from the past decade.
"Military officers and informal recruiting agents continue to use intimidation, coercion, and physical violence to obtain new recruits, including under-18s," says the report, which is based on three research missions in Myanmar and along its
border with Thailand, the latest in December.
The report says children are also in the ranks of army-controlled border guard forces and ethnic armed opposition groups that for the most part have reached
cease-fires with the government after
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