Myanmar agrees to address situation of children with UN – envoy

Myanmar agrees to address situation of children with UN – envoy

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Wrapping up a five-day official visit to Myanmar, the United Nations envoy for children and armed conflict today its Government has agreed to name an official to deal with the plight of the country’s young in cooperation with the UN.

“This visit is a beginning in seeking to address some of the important issues relating to child protection in Myanmar,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy.

In her talks with authorities, including acting Prime Minister Thein Sein, she explained the framework of the 2005 Security Council resolution which established a mechanism to monitor grave violations by both Governments and insurgents, focusing especially on crimes, including recruiting child soldiers in violation of international instruments.

In response, the Government agreed to name a high-level official from the South-East Asian nation to liaise with the UN Country Team and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on all matters pertaining to children and armed conflict.

“The Government responded favourably to an on-going dialogue with the United Nations,” Ms. Coomaraswamy said during her visit.

The Special Representative held a working session with the Government’s Committee for the Prevention of Military Recruitment of Underage Children, at which it was decided that Myanmar would create an action plan in collaboration with UNICEF. This new scheme would undertake the reintegration of children, and the Ministry of Defence would regularly organize trainings on protecting children during conflict.

She met with the United Wa State Army, a non-State party, urging them to cooperate with the UN to cease recruitment of child soldiers and develop a reintegration programme.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s report on the situation of children and armed conflict in Myanmar – scheduled to be released later this year – will include information collected and verified by the UN Task Force.

“This report will provide us with a clearer understanding of the situation of children affected by the conflict in Myanmar,” Ms. Coomaraswamy said.