Myanmar ending practice of child soldiers

June 27, 2012 at 8:18 PM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, June 27 (UPI) -- U.N. officials and senior military officers in Myanmar signed a plan Wednesday to end the recruitment of children into the military, the United Nations said.

The agreement, signed in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, calls for special U.N. and government programs to assist the children no longer allowed in the armed forces, or Tatmadaw, a release from the United Nations said.

"The most important work begins now to ensure that children are released from the Tatmadaw as soon as possible and are returned to their families and communities and receive support to promote their well-being, learning and livelihoods," said Ramesh Shrestha, the U.N. Children's Fund representative in Myanmar.

Myanmar has been listed fore more than five years on the U.N. secretary-general's report on countries in armed conflict that commit grave violations against children, the release said.

"This is an ambitious plan agreed by the government and the United Nations to deal with this long standing issue, and the international community must support it," said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the secretary-general's special representative for children and armed conflict. "This is a testament but also a test of Myanmar's engagement for children, and I hope to see it through."

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