Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In spite of democratic reforms, Myanmar has appalling legacy of child abduction and forced labor

There have been inroads made in the Asian nation of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma in regards to human rights and Democratic reform. Myanmar still has a shameful history of child soldiers, where boys as young as 15 are abducted and forced to serve in the military. The experiences of these forcibly conscripted young people have begun to come to light, in an effort to redress previous injustices.

According to Human Rights Watch, however, a total eradication of under-age recruitment will be a long process. 'The Burmese army still forcibly recruits children from public places, often through civilian recruiters, and coerces them to join the army,' Matthew Smith, a researcher at HRW says

According to Human Rights Watch, however, a total eradication of under-age recruitment will be a long process. "The Burmese army still forcibly recruits children from public places, often through civilian recruiters, and coerces them to join the army," Matthew Smith, a researcher at HRW says

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/7/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Myanmar, child soldiers, reform, United Nations, elections


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to several human rights organizations, many Myanmar teenagers may have lost either their futures or their lives upon being drafted into the state armed forces. An unknown number of child soldiers continue to serve in non-state armed groups, continuing the cycle of violence.

Many of these combatants manage to escape their army commanders by crossing through the porous border to Thailand. Seeking refuge in "safe houses," these displaced teens face too few choices. They find themselves caught between Thai authorities and risk being sent back to succumb to the will of their troop leaders, or living in secrecy without identity or recourse.

While the 2010 elections may have brought little solace to the majority's democratic will in Myanmar, the new administration has surprised many by making unprecedented promises in relation to child soldiers. A joint action plan signed between the ministry of defense and a U.N. Task Force vowed to "halt child soldier recruitment and discharge existing recruits under age 18."

It was the first instance Myanmar not only acknowledged the presence of child soldiers within their armed forces, but also promised to "repatriate" them to their families and communities.

The gesture has led many to say that Myanmar has entered a new era in its political history.

These developments have been fascinating for civil society actors, the U.N., experts and journalists to witness a situation that was stagnant for decades to quickly transform into a positive start for "reform initiatives." Cooperating with humanitarian agencies has been part of the administration's attempts to convince the international community that they intend to rectify the country's appalling human rights record.

According to Human Rights Watch, however, a total eradication of under-age recruitment will be a long process. "The Burmese army still forcibly recruits children from public places, often through civilian recruiters, and coerces them to join the army," Matthew Smith, a researcher at HRW says.

"Abducted kids are typically offered an option to go to prison or enlist, and they usually choose the latter, at which point their documents are falsified."

The International Labor Organization has engaged in negotiations with the Myanmar government to formulate a plan of action under Security Council Resolution 1612. The resolution, adopted by the Security Council in 2005, established a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the use of child soldiers.

"With the holding of the elections and the establishment of the new government, the situation has been markedly different with government representatives, military and civilian, prepared to address all elements of the issue culminating in the signing of an agreed plan of action in June of this year," explained Steve Marshall, information officer at the ILO.

The signing of a memorandum pledges to work towards elimination of all forced labor, including under-age recruitment, by 2015.

Marshall is confident that the cycle of recruitment can be broken through "extensive educational/awareness raising programs targeted at military personnel, civilian government personnel and the general public."

.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Orphan trafficking ring stopped by Indian High Court Watch

Image of Child trafficking between orphanages has become a major problem for some Indian states, where poorer children are shipped off to orphanages with low amounts of children, so that the orphanages may receive lucrative government aid.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Indian court has begun legal action against orphanages that are supposedly sending large numbers of children into the southern Indian state of Kerala from northern states that are more impoverished. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The kerala High Court ... continue reading


Move by Bangladesh to LOWER legal age to marry raises international outrage Watch

Image of Bangladesh has the highest child marriage rate in Southeast Asia, which puts young women there at higher risk of sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bangladesh has an ongoing problem with child marriage: two out of three girls there marry before they reach adulthood. A proposal to lower the age to 16 years of age has prompted a storm of international criticism. Women's rights activists are calling it "a ... continue reading


Islamic State planned beheadings in Australia Watch

Image of Mohamed Elomar, an Australian who joined the Islamic State, and one of the primary examples of homegrown extremism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Australian officials have prevented an Islamic State plot to carry out and film the beheading of a random person in Sydney, as part of a series of public executions intended to strike terror into the West. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pre-dawn raids across ... continue reading


Parish dedicated to John Paul II the first in Chinese-speaking world Watch

Image of Construction of the church began in February 2014, thanks to donations from the local Catholic community. Father Orifiamma said the parish still needs financial help to finish paying for the costs of construction.

By CNA/EWTN News

The Diocese of Kaohsiung in Taiwan has become the first in the Chinese-speaking world to have a parish dedicated to St. John Paul II, where a first-class relic of the Polish saint's blood is kept. Kaohsiung, Taiwan (CNA) - Archbishop Peter Chen-Chung Liu of Kaohsiung ... continue reading


Pauline Sisters celebrate their 50 years in Goa, India Watch

Image of In keeping with the Founder's vision, the Paulines have gone beyond the confines of churches and schools to reach out to people in their homes and marketplaces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Pauline Sisters are due to celebrate their 50 years of presence in Goa, India, this September 20th. Goa is the former headquarters of the Asian Church. On September 20. The Pious Society of the Daughters of Saint Paul, or DSP opened its first house in India ... continue reading


China takes fight to internet! Begins banning mail-order bride websites Watch

Image of Chinese and Cambodian authorities are targeting bride-buying websites in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online bride-shopping websites are being targeted by Chinese and Cambodian authorities in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We support the crackdown and ... continue reading


QUITE A BOAST! North Korea has 'the world's most advantageous human rights system,' leaders say Watch

Image of North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Il poses for a photo as he oversees a tactical rocket firing drill last June.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Widely regarded as the most oppressive government on the face of the Earth, a report from North Korean officials heralds that the nation has "the world's most advantageous human rights system." The international community largely scoffed at this bold, ... continue reading


Vietnamese children will be able to be adopted by American parents after six-year ban Watch

Image of Americans who wish to adopt Vietnamese children can only to do with child older than five years of age, those with special needs or groups of siblings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American parents who wish to adopt children from Vietnam will be able to do again shortly after a six-year ban. However, Vietnamese children who can be adopted by U.S. citizens must be older than five years of age. While the ban has been lifted, this new ... continue reading


Hundreds of children rescued from Illegal Muslim schools in China Watch

Image of Chinese authorities have been waging a battle against Muslim separatists in the western region of Xinjiang, which has left hundreds dead. A recent raid saved nearly 200 students from an illegal Islamic school.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Officials in China's Xinjiang region have rescued 190 children and detained 85 people in a series of widespread raids on underground Islamic schools. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The sweep was reported in China's state-run Legal Daily, and reported that the ... continue reading


Nearly half of all girls in South Asia are married before they turn 18 years of age Watch

Image of One in five girls are married before the age of 15, giving India the highest rates of child marriage in the world, the report said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a United Nations report, nearly half of all girls in South Asia marry before they turn age 18. Published by the U.N. children's agency UNICEF last week, the report lays bare what it calls "glaring inequalities." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
1 Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:19-21
19 His mother and his brothers came looking for him, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Padre Pio
September 23: Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter