Pauktaw: Parents from Pauktaw in Arakan State have recently lodged a complaint with the International Labour Organization through a local human rights group, stating their underage son was tricked and recruited into the Burmese military.
U Maung Maung Lay, a member of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network, said the child’s parents have sought assistance from the network to bring their child back home from the military.
“We have now complained of the matter and submitted evidence to the ILO office in Rangoon as well as to Burma’s National Human Rights Commission, and hope that actions will be taken soon for the child,” said U Maung Maung Lay.
He added that the child is 16-year-old Maung Oo Hla Win, son of U Maung San Win from Taungphue Village in Pauktaw Township in Arakan State, and he was wrongfully recruited into the military after being tricked by a recruiter last year.
“Maung Oo Hla Win is now posted at the army’s Light Infantry Battalion 409 in Dawai after he was trained at Training Center No. 10 in Ayadaw Township in Sagaing Division. It was also heard that he is being kept under a new name in the army,” he said.
According to U Maung Maung Lay, recruitment of children into the armed forces is continuing in Burma, and the army widely uses the tactics of threats, trickery, and incentives in order to recruit children. He added that Maung Oo Hla Win was recruited after being tricked and threatened.
He said the Burmese army typically delays handing over child soldiers to their parents after it is reported that the child was conscripted.
“Whenever a case of a child soldier is reported to our network or the ILO, we take immediate action to get the child out, but the army usually delays in these cases and it takes at least six months and up to one or two years to return the child to their parents. This means the regime and the army are still failing to take necessary steps to eliminate the recruitment of child soldiers in the country,” said U Maung Maung Lay.
The HRDP is not an officially registered organization in Burma, but it has been working for the improvement of human rights in the country, and it has a branch in Arakan State.
The Arakan branch of the HRDP also issued a press release on 24 February strongly objecting to the Burmese regime in the matter of the recruitment of Maung Oo Hla Win as a soldier.
The release said the new Burmese regime has officially announced there are no child soldiers in the army, but claimed this is just an open lie by the regime to its own people and the international community.