Arakanese mother seeks ILO’s help to get back underage son recruited by army

Maung Rammar

Taungup: A mother from Taungup in Arakan State has written a complaint to the International Labour Organization (ILO) requesting help to return her underage son who has been conscripted into the army after having been missing for over a year.


The mother known as Daw Khin Nwe who is a resident of Noekraray Street in Kan Paing Ward in Taungup is said to have found her missing son Maung Kyaw Kyaw Naing, 15 conscripted by the Battalion No. 908 that bases in Kyarmathauk Village in Sittwe.

Daw Khin Nwe said she has written a letter of complaint to the ILO in Yangon on 8th of January after finding her son in the army.

“I have written to the liaison officer of the ILO on 8th of this month. It is unacceptable my underage son has been recruited in the army. I have also enclosed the recommendations of our ward-administrator and primary school headmaster that my son is an underage. I have also sent the photocopies to the NLD in Taungup”, she said.

She said she came to know that her son was recruited by the army after receiving a phone call from him on 16th of September last year.

“My son first called his grandmother. She made an appointment with him to meet me. When I met him on the phone the next day, he told me that he was in Battallion-908 in Kyarmathauk in Sittwe.”, she said.

Maung Kyaw Kyaw Naing is said to have been missing from his residence in Taungup since 11 November 2011.

According to Daw Khin Nwe, her son was recruited by the Light Infantry Battalion No. 544 based in Taungup on the pretext of a well-paid job on 15 November 2011 and she wants to get her son back as he himself is now unhappy with his life in the army.

“My son told me that his life in the army is uneasy and asked me to take him back from the army as soon as possible. He also told me that he came there as he was told that he would get kyat 70,000-80,000 a month. I did not know what to do to get back him before. But I have now lodged my complaint letter to the ILO as the people here have suggested to me”, she said.

She said her son was just 15-years old when he was recruited as he was born on 15 August 1996.

When contacted to U Min Aung, the Chairman of the National League for Democracy in Taungup Township, he confirmed that his office has also received the photocopies of her letter of complaint to the ILO.

“We have heard that the liaison officer of the ILO in Yangon has already received her letter of complaint. We hope she will get back her son and the ILO will intervene as soon as possible because there are agreements between the government and ILO concerning child soldiers”,he said.