Myanmar’s Child Soldiers
by JRajotte on November 14, 2013 - 11:42pm
In the article updated on November 1, 2013 (the original date is not written) called The Fight to Free Myanmar’s Child Soldier published on the CNN website. The article talks about some child soldiers that have managed to get out of the military and also about their parents and their experience. It is said that at the age of 14, Zaw Min Paing was enrolled by the army. The article also states that he was lured by the money since the family business was not going well and he was not entirely sure of what he was going into by joining the army. According to the countries law and international law it is illegal to enroll people under the age of 18. The article says that the situation has been improving due to policies that where adopted in June 2012 after having signed an agreement with the UN, this has been responsible of returning 176 children and now adults that where under 18 when enrolled. While there has been progress this issue does continue. In the article it is said that the recruiters are recruiting the vulnerable child, usually some without parents who died during the hurricane of 2008, some of them have no choice since they have lost their identification, it is either joining the military or going to prison. There is also the story of a father and his son that was taken by the recruiters while he was away at a monastery. The child was 13 and at the time he was released was 16. He spent 3 and a half years working for the military until something was done. His father fears that he might be bring to court for being a deserter even if he has some paper work that should protect him, yet the army has yet to officially give him his official resignation paper, every day he lives in fear of being re-recruited once more. Any military recruit is trained for 4 and a half month, then send on the front line, where it is said that they would “detonate mines, carrying arms and good and rations” The problem is worsen by the fact that officials pay between 30$-50$ to anyone bringing them recruits as this in return reduces the time before they can retire.
Personally I think this is a sick practice that has to be stopped now, the current officials have made some steps in the right direction but it seems that it is not enforcing its policies strongly enough and that there are no true repercussion being dealt to the military officials that engage in such activities. I think that there are several ways to solve or at least reduce this problem. First one being, the stricter application of the laws. Second solution would be to stop this, the more recruit “I” contribute to the army the less time until my retirement rule, this only fuels the system and creates a cycle, and this cycle has to be broken. Some major problems to implementing these solutions to this issue are simply controlling the army which is powerful another problem to this would be proving that they were in fact child since a lot of these child do not have any official documents left and forgeries are said to be common.
For even more information about this Important issue: http://www.child-soldiers.org/news_reader.php?id=703