ALTOGETHER 66 child soldiers have been discharged and returned to their respective parents under the supervision of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army) and the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on grave violations against children (CTFMR).
The ceremony took place in Yangon and attracted Brig-Gen Khun Thant Zaw Htoo and senior military officers of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army), officials from related ministries and United Nations agencies.
Brig-Gen Khun Thant Zaw Htoo and CTFMR’s Co-chair Ms Renata Lok-Dessalien, spoke on the occasion.
The released children were given certificates of resignation and citizenship scrutiny cards before being returned to the parents and guardians.
The children were taken to the care centre run by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, where they will be provided with medical checkups. Help will be given to the minors who have difficulty getting in touch with their parents and guardians.
Officials said help will also be given to those wishing to continue their education and those wishing to work. Financial assistance and items for personal use will be provided to them.
The armed forces have so far returned 810 minor soldiers to their parents in 13 batches since 2012- once in 2012, 3 times in 2013, 4 times in 2014, 3 times in 2015 and 2 times this year.
The country signed the 18-month project of the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on grave violations against children (UNCTFMR) on 27 June 2012, extending the period of the project for six months each in 2013 and 2014.
The Tatmadaw has taken action against 81 military officers and 402 personnel of other ranks in connection with the recruitment of children up to August 2016.
The Tatmadaw has stated that they are making earnest efforts to ensure that children are not recruited and that any children currently serving in the military are discharged.