"MY GUN WAS AS TALL AS ME"
Child Soldiers in Burma
Human Rights Watch
Copyright © October 2002 by Human
TABLE OF CONTENTS
To all Opposition Groups
To the governments of Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, India, and China
To the government of Thailand
To the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
To the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
To Nongovernmental Organizations
To member states of the United Nations
To the Security Council
To the International Labour Organization
To the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Myanmar
Ye Nyunt: The "Brave Sprouts"
The Su Saun Yay Recruit Holding Camps
Deployment and Active Duty
Life as a Soldier
Relations with the Civilian Population
Psychological Effects on the Soldiers
Desertion and Suicide
The Scope of Child Recruitment in the Burma Army
The Pyitthu Sit Militia
Shan State Army - South (SSA-South)
Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)
Karen Peace Army (KPA)
Karenni Army (KnA)
Karenni Nationalities People's Liberation Front (KNPLF)
Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA)
Monland Restoration Army (MRA)
Kachin Independence Army (KIA)
Kachin Democratic Army (KDA)
New Democratic Army - Kachinland (NDA-K)
All-Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF)
People's Democratic Front (PDF)
Burma Patriotic Army (BPA)
Myeik-Dawei United Front (MDUF)
The Anti-Insurgent Group (AIG)
Mong Tai Army (MTA)
This report was written by Kevin Heppner, consultant to the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, based on research conducted in Thailand and border areas of Burma in March 2002 by Kevin Heppner and Jo Becker, advocacy director for the Children's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. The author conducted additional research in February and April through July 2002. Jo Becker also contributed to the writing of sections of the report.
This report was edited by Jo Becker, advocacy director for the Children's Rights Division; Lois Whitman, executive director of the Children's Rights Division; Ian Gorvin, consultant in the Program Office of Human Rights Watch; Wilder Tayler, legal and policy director of Human Rights Watch; and Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, and the acting director of Asia Division during the preparation of this report. Rachael Reilly, refugee policy director of Human Rights Watch, and Alison Parker, Leonard H. Sandler Fellow on Refugee Policy, offered input and assistance on refugee standards and policy issues and contributed to the legal standards section of the report. Dana Sommers, Fitzroy Hepkins, Patrick Minges and Veronica Matushaj provided production assistance.
Human Rights Watch gratefully acknowledges the Bernard Osher Foundation for its financial support, and Patrick Ball, Deputy Director of the Science and Human Rights Program, Directorate for Science and Policy Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for providing guidance on the statistical analyses in the report.
Human Rights Watch is indebted to the many individuals and organizations that contributed their time, energy and information to Human Rights Watch during the research and preparation of this report, including those who helped Human Rights Watch gain access to current and former soldiers. We are particularly grateful to the current and former soldiers who shared their stories with us.