Please find attached a press statement released today by Child Soldiers International, urging the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to immediately end the recruitment and use of children under the age of 18 years and release all those recruited under-18 within their ranks.
Research conducted by Child Soldiers International shows that ongoing conflict between the Myanmar military (the Tatmadaw Kyi) and the KIA has spurred the demand for both sides to continue to recruit children into their forces. Fresh disagreements between the government and negotiators from the ethnic armies have generated pressure on the peace process.The Tatmadaw Kyi continues to face pressures to increase troop numbers and a system of incentive-based quotas drives demand for fresh recruitment. This puts children at particular risk. Information gathered by Child Soldiers International shows that the Myanmar military and other security forces have continued to use children without formal recruitment. Use of children by the Tatmadaw Kyi has been reported in Mon, Chin and Shan state. Ongoing patterns of use of children by the Myanmar military, Border Guard Police, Myanmar Police and township and village administrators have been reported from the Arakan state, where Child Soldiers International documented specific instances of Rohingya children being included for forced labour by Myanmar security forces in May 2015.
In the Kachin state, a sense of public service, revenge and justice, coupled with a lack of alternative livelihoods are the main drivers for ongoing underage recruitment. Occasionally, the KIA has intimidated and coerced children into their ranks and in some other instances children are sent to the KIA by their parents or guardians as a form of correction for aberrant behaviour. Research conducted by Child Soldiers International found that the most common ages of children in the KIA are between 15 and 17 years old, although there have been a few reports of children aged 13 and 14. Child Soldiers International found no evidence of children being deployed to the front lines by the KIA.
For further information, please see Child Soldiers International’s new research released today (attached): A Dangerous Refuge: Ongoing child recruitment by the Kachin Independence Army and our briefing on child soldiers in the Myanmar military.
Please contact me should you need further information or clarifications on any issues including in our report and briefing.
Charu Lata Hogg
Policy and Advocacy Director
Child Soldiers International
4th Floor, 9 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1EP
Direct line: + 44 2073674117
Mobile: + 44 7906261291