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Burma to Work Closer With UNICEF to Address Issue of Child Soldiers

VOA News

June 29, 2007

Burma's military rulers have agreed to work more closely with the United Nations children's agency and create a special government position to deal with the issue of child soldiers.

Burma's decision was announced Friday by U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, as she wrapped up a week-long visit to the southeast Asian country.

Coomaraswamy says her visit marks the beginning of an effort to address the issue of protecting children in Burma.

In 2005, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that called for the establishment of a system to monitor abuses of children in armed conflicts. The United Nations lists Burma as a country that uses child soldiers.

During her visit, Coomaraswamy met with Prime Minister Lieutenant General Thein Sein and other government officials.

She also met with the United Wa State Army, one of the groups listed in the 2005 U.N. report that allegedly uses child soldiers.

Some human rights organizations accuse Burma's military government and ethnic minority groups, who are fighting for more autonomy, of using children as soldiers. The government and armed opposition groups deny the allegations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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