UN flays Myanmar for recruiting child soldiers | world | Hindustan Times
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UN flays Myanmar for recruiting child soldiers

world Updated: Dec 08, 2007 10:05 IST

The United Nations has sharply criticised Myanmar government as well as non state actors in the country for continuing to recruit children and use them as soldiers despite calls by international community to stop the "abominable practice."

"The issue of recruitment and use of children continues to be a problem in Myanmar both with regard to the government and various non-state actors," said UN's Special Envoy on Children in Armed Conflicts Radhika Coomaraswamy.

She was presenting Secretary-General's report on the issue to the Security Council Working Group dealing with the matter.

The report noted that the government and two non State actors, Karen National Union (KNU) and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) were implicated in "grave violations" of children's rights.

Coomaraswamy also raised concerns about the issue of access for UN monitors in Myanmar, saying that "the government should provide the UN country team with free access to conflict areas and to recruitment centres so that monitoring and reporting can be performed effectively and all the information be verified."

Among other issues cited were difficulties with age verification, reports of children convicted and sentenced for desertion, and lack of humanitarian access.

"Children are the first to be affected by a humanitarian crisis," she stressed, adding "there is a real urgency for a humanitarian needs assessment in the conflict areas in order to devise proper programmatic responses for the most vulnerable."