Myanmar army releases 46 child soldiers under UN deal
Iran Press TV
Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:21AM
Myanmar's military has released nearly 50 more child soldiers from service as part of an agreement with the United Nations, state media say.
On Saturday, 46 children who had served in the Myanmarese army, called Tatmadaw, were handed over to their families during a ceremony in Yangon, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.
"The Tatmadaw is committed to rid its ranks of underage soldiers," Major General Tauk Tun was quoted as saying in the report.
The report added that so far 744 child soldiers have been discharged "in 12 batches, including yesterday's release," under the 2012 pact with the UN.
The exact number of children currently serving in the army or other groups is not known.
Myanmar's army has faced a wide range of accusations, including rights abuses and the forced recruitment of children to work as porters and human mine detectors.
According to the UN, besides the army, at least seven different rebel groups, including the Kachin Independence Army, Karen National Liberation Army, Karenni Army, Shan State Army South and the United Wa State Army, are known to be actively recruiting children as soldiers.
Myanmar is currently in the process of transitioning from decades of brutal military rule to the formation of a government.
Last November, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won 80 percent of seats during a parliamentary vote, allowing the party to form the first civilian-led government for the country in decades.
The new parliament is expected to choose a new president, as well as speakers and deputy speakers of both the lower and upper houses.
Myanmar has been grappling with internal struggles from countless ethnic minority armies battling for greater autonomy, since the end of the British colonial rule in the country in 1948.
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