Aid agency World Vision has welcomed an historic step by the Government of Myanmar to tackle the recruitment of under-age soldiers.
The government has today signed a Joint Action Plan with a pledge to halt the recruitment of child soldiers, and to discharge existing recruits under the age of 18.
Importantly, the agreement also grants access for a special monitoring taskforce in Myanmar - made up of UN bodies and major aid agencies including World Vision - to ensure the promises are being carried out.
As part of the agreement, the Myanmar Government will also help the taskforce to negotiate with non-government armed groups in the country to release child soldiers from their ranks.
Erica Hall, Senior Child Rights Policy Advisor at World Vision UK, said: “This is a bold step by the Government of Myanmar. They’ve promised to end the recruitment of under-age soldiers and, crucially, allowed the international community to ensure this promise is being carried out.
“It’s the result of five years of work behind the scenes. Of course, we’re not there yet and we shall be monitoring progress carefully – but it’s a big step in the right direction.”
The UN Security Council has overseen the Action Plan which was signed today. Other UN bodies and aid agencies, including World Vision, have been involved in the negotiations.
World Vision has been supporting children in Myanmar since 1959, and opened its first office in the country in 1993. There are 35 projects with around three million beneficiaries, including more than 55,000 children. World Vision UK funds work in four areas of Myanmar, focusing on health, education and child protection.
27 June 2012