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Myanmar and UN sign landmark plan of action to release children from armed forces

YANGON, 27 June 2012 – The Government of Myanmar and the United Nations today signed an action plan 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 plan was signed in the capital Nay Pyi Taw by Major General Ngwe Thein (Director of the Directorate of Military Strength, Ministry of Defence) and Major General Tin Maung Win (Vice Adjutant General, Myanmar armed forces) on behalf of the Government of Myanmar, and the UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Ashok Nigam and UNICEF Representative Mr. Ramesh Shrestha. The signing was witnessed by Lieutenant-General Hla Min, Union Minister of Defence, and Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

The plan is the result of years of negotiation between the Government and United Nations led by UNICEF and the Office of the Resident Coordinator on behalf of a Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting of grave violations of child rights in armed conflict (CTFMR) comprising UNDP, UNHCR, UNOCHA, ILO, WFP, UNFPA, World Vision and Save the Children.

“UNICEF welcomes the signing of the action plan and is ready to support the Government to take forward these key commitments,” said the co-chair of the CTFMR Mr. Shrestha of UNICEF. “The most important work begins now to ensure that children are released from the Tatmadaw as soon as possible and are returned to their families and communities and receive support to promote their well-being, learning and livelihoods.”

“The signing of the Action Plan brings a great opportunity for the United Nations and the Country Task Force to work together with the Government and send a strong message that children should not, and will no longer, be recruited and used for military purposes,” said the co-chair of the CTFMR UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Nigam.

The action plan was negotiated under the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1612, which established the UN-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism to report on six grave violations of children’s rights in situations of armed conflict.

The UN Secretary-General in an annual report to the Security Council lists parties that commit grave violations against children. In Myanmar, there are eight parties listed for recruitment and use of children: the Tatmadaw, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, the Kachin Independence Army, Karen National Liberation Army, Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council, Karenni Army, Shan State Army-South and the United Wa State Army.
They are considered persistent perpetrators because they have been listed for more than five years.

Ensuring that children released from the Tatmadaw receive meaningful support requires both long-term commitment and resources. Effective release and reintegration programmes for children are a critical factor for durable peace and security in Myanmar.

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For more information, please contact:
Hagar Russ, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Myanmar
Tel + 95-1-375527-32 (Ext: 1531),

Sandar Linn Communication Officer, UNICEF Myanmar,
Tel + 95-1-375527-32 (Ext: 1439),

Aye Win, National Information Officer,
Tel +95-9 421060343,




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