Speaking today, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said:
The UK has been a strong and consistent voice in the UN calling for meaningful action to bring an end to the shameful use of child soldiers in Burma. We have seen real progress in Burma over the last two years and recent releases of child soldiers are welcome progress towards Burma’s commitments, but we need to give these young people their lives back and prevent more being recruited in future.
I welcome the resolution in the last few days by the UN Security Council Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict which calls for an immediate end to the recruitment of child soldiers and for UN experts to be given full access in their investigations into this appalling practice.
On Friday 16 August, the UN Security Council Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict formally adopted a resolution on the ongoing recruitment and retention of child soldiers in Burma. The UK was a strong voice in favour of some important language in the resolution calling on the Burmese government to ensure:
- Full implementation of its commitments under the action plan it signed;
- unhindered access to all sites by the UN country team (which had previously been restricted by the Burmese military);
- existing practices which lead to the recruitment of child soldiers are eradicated; and
- this is included in ongoing negotiations within the peace process
As a follow up, the UN Security Council will be sending a team of specialists to Burma on 29 November to review the situation.
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