Orientation for Military Focal Points on Identification, Release, Discharge and Reintegration of child recruits as agreed in the Action Plan
YANGON, 20 August 2012 : A three-day orientation for Military Focal Points from the Regional Commands on the agreed procedures, on identification, release, discharge, and reintegration of under-age recruits is being conducted by the Ministry of Defence with support from UNICEF.
The orientation is in line with the implementation of the Action Plan signed by the Government of Myanmar and the United Nations in June this year to prevent the recruitment and use of children by the Myanmar armed forces – the Tatmadaw – and allow for the release of under-age recruits.
The government has committed to comply with the Security Council resolution 1612 in prevention of under-age recruitment. Improving the technical capacity and knowledge among the recruiters on the ground are aimed to contribute significantly to improve the implementation of the action plan.
“Having raised the awareness of Convention of the Rights of Children, 600 child soldiers have been already released from army and reintegrated with their families from 2004 to July 2012. Now that the Action Plan has been signed, we are going to release 42 under-age recruits from the army in collaboration with Department of Social Welfare and UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting,” said Colonel Maung Maung Shin from the Ministry of Defense at his closing remark on August 22 at Danyingone Military Recruitment Centre.
“Based on the technical know-how learned from this orientation, we are committed to do our best for the interest of children in Myanmar,” said Colonel Maung Maung Shin.
There are five main areas of Tatmadaw and Government commitment under the Plan. These are: identification, release/ discharge and reintegration; prevention or underage recruitment; awareness raising and capacity building; access and verification and the legal enforcement and disciplinary actions for the violators of government’s recruitment policy.
The current orientation addresses the first step in implementing the action plan, which will help install proper procedures in identification, release and discharge and reintegration of under-age recruits that may be present in various military locations.
Since 2007, the Tatmadaw has released more than 500 under-age recruits detected in various military barracks and other locations. With the reinforced procedures of identification and verifications all under-age recruits that may exist can be successfully identified, discharged and reintegrated.
“The commitments made under the Action Plan by the Government, the Army and the UN are being closely observed by the United Nations and the wider international community,” said Mr. Ramesh Shrestha, UNICEF Myanmar Representative, “Its success on one hand it is a test for Myanmar. On the other hand, it offers an opportunity to release once and for all those who are under 18 in the armed forces.”
“Signing of the Action Plan sent a clear message to the world that the Myanmar government has zero tolerance for under-18 recruitment in the Tatmadaw. This is a message that Myanmar must live up to. Proper implementation of the Action Plan will also determine Myanmar’s delisting of Tatmadaw in the UN Secretary General’s Annual Report on Children affected by Armed Conflicts,” added Mr. Shrestha.
UNICEF is coordinating with a number of partner agencies such as the World Vision, Save the Children, and Myanmar Red Cross Society, the Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association for reintegration of under-age recruits who have been released. Some 300 underage recruits have been provided with reintegration assistance until now.
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