Chance for Change – Ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Myanmar

(London) January 28, 2013 —

Despite moves towards political reform, children continue to be recruited and used as soldiers by armed forces and armed groups in Myanmar, a report published by Child Soldiers International says.

Chance for Change – Ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Myanmar,’ shows that nearly a decade since international engagement on the issue first began and despite the signing of a Joint Action Plan to end the recruitment and use of children between the Myanmar government and the UN in June 2012, children continue to be present in the ranks of theTatmadaw Kyi (Myanmar army) and the Border Guard Forces (BGFs) which function under the command of Tatmadaw Kyi and armed opposition groups.

Initial steps to implement the Joint Action Plan have led to the release of 42 children from theTatmadaw Kyi, with other releases expected. However, measures to prevent future recruitment of children have not yet been implemented and there are no programs yet to verify the presence of children in the Border Guard Forces (BGFs).

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JRS Thailand reaches out to migrant children

The Bangkok Post has an excellent story about Jesuit Refugee Service/Thailand and their efforts at one of six learning centers for Burmese children supported by JRS.

In 2002, the JRS initiated the learning center program after recognizing the difficulties migrant children face in attending Thai schools. It helps build and maintain community-based learning centers, support teachers salaries, provide school uniforms, books and sporting gear, and grant scholarships to outstanding students to study in Thai schools.

Since 2006, the program has added the learning of Thai language in order to prepare Burmese children to attend Thai schools. Teaching Thai language is an effort to enable the youngsters to communicate in Thai, adjust to Thai culture and choose to further their studies in Thai schools.

Angelina Jolie rebuked by Thailand

Agence France – Presse and the Associated Press report that actress Angelina Jolie has been criticized by senior officials in Thailand for remarks she made while touring refugee camps in the country.

United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie. UN Photo/ Evan Schneider

Jolie

Jolie is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt were visiting a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border when she made her remarks.

AFP reports: While touring the northern Ban Mai Nai Soi camp home to 18,000 refugees from Myanmar, Jolie said she hoped Thailand would be “just as generous to the Rohingya refugees who are now arriving on their shores.”

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Persecuted at home, harassed seeking asylum

Members of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, a civil society network committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific Region, urge better treatment for ‘Boat People’ in Asia

Over the past two years, the number of people leaving Bangladesh and Burma by boat for Southeast Asia has grown. They have fled in search of protection, safety and/or work. Most are Rohingyas, a Muslim minority from western Burma.
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