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Protect Victims of Underage Military Recruitment

(Yangon) – Myanmar authorities should exonerate and release a former child soldier who spoke to journalists about his army experiences, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 28, 2018, the Dagon Seikkan Township Court sentenced Aung Ko…
Myanmar army soldiers take positions near Laukkai, February 17, 2015.
News

Tillerson Undermines US Law by Removing Violators

(Washington, DC) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should return Burma and Iraq to the US list of governments using child soldiers, Human Rights Watch said today. Reuters reported that Tillerson overruled State Department officials and senior US…
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
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Families Displaced as Groups Dispute Control of River

(Washington, DC) – Two armed groups competing for control over stretches of Colombia’s San Juan river are committing serious abuses against Afro-Colombian and indigenous Wounaan riverside communities, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Wounaan people gather in a community building by the San Juan river, in Chocó, Colombia, March 2017.
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I have spent more than a decade documenting the use of child soldiers in Myanmar, and have interviewed boys who were only 11 when they were forced to join the army. Initially, Myanmar's government flatly denied any use of children by its army, despite…
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‘Failing Grade’ on Promised Cooperation with UN

(New York) – Burma has failed to make progress in ending its use of child soldiers nearly one year after signing an agreement with the United Nations (UN) to do so, Human Rights Watch said in a new paper released today. In June 2012, Burma and the UN…
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The State Department’s new list of governments using child soldiers is out. Seven countries are named this year. The list is not that surprising: It includes the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma and South Sudan, which have deployed child soldiers for…
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Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor are just the tip of the iceberg. The use of children as soldiers extends far beyond Africa. Last week in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty…
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New US Report Names Six Governments That Could Lose Military Aid

(New York) - The United States should put pressure on governments identified by the State Department as using child soldiers to end the practice or lose US military assistance, Human Rights Watch said today. The State Department's 2010 annual report on…
News

Known Child Recruiters Promoted to Key Government, Military Posts

(New York) - The United Nations Security Council should impose sanctions on governments and armed groups for using child soldiers, sexual violence against children, and attacks on schools, and should promote effective prosecution of the commanders…
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Myin Win was 11 years old when he was first recruited into Burma's national army. He was picked up by soldiers while selling vegetables at a railway station and sent to a military training camp. He weighed only 70 pounds, or about 32 kilograms, and said…
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In a small Myanmarese army border outpost in Shan State, a sign in English and Myanmarese points into Thailand's thriving tourist town of Doi Ang Khan: "We Are Able." It's probably not much comfort to the soldiers walking around barefoot, enclosed by…
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An Interview with Jo Becker

Jo Becker is the advocacy director in the Children’s Rights Division of New York-based Human Rights Watch Question: How many child soldiers are there in the Burmese army?    Answer: We really are not sure. Many of the soldiers we interviewed said that…
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By the time he was 16, Maung Zaw Oo had been forcibly recruited into Burma's national army not once, but twice. First recruited at 14, he escaped, only to be recruited again the following year. The corporal who delivered him to a recruitment centre…
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U.N. Security Council to Discuss Colombia’s Child Soldiers

Colombia’s armed groups are among the worst violators of international norms against the recruitment and use of child soldiers, Human Rights Watch said today. The Colombian government should ratify and implement the United Nations treaty prohibiting this…
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Over the last five years, the global campaign to stop the use of child soldiers has garnered an impressive series of successes, including new international legal standards, action by the UN Security Council and regional bodies, and pledges from various…
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Child Soldiers in Burma

Burma has more child soldiers than any other country in the world. They account for approximately one-fourth of the 300,000 children currently believed to be participating in armed conflicts around the globe. Forced recruitment of children by government…
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By Joanne Mariner, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch's Americas Division Published in FindLaw.com September 29, 2003     When Paula Calderón was fourteen, her mother died. A few weeks after the funeral, Paula’s father brought her to a guerrilla…
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(Santafé de Bogotá, September 18, 2003) -- More than 11,000 children fight in Colombia's armed conflict, one of the highest totals in the world, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Both guerrilla and paramilitary forces rely on child…
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(New York) - Governments and armed groups using child soldiers are under new scrutiny by the U.N. Security Council and must take immediate action to end child recruitment, Human Rights Watch said today. Following a full-day debate on children and armed…
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In late 1999, a pair of chain-smoking twin boys called Luther and Johnny Htoo captured headlines as the leaders of the God's Army, an armed opposition group in Burma. Media stories about the boys and their reported mystical powers reinforced a common…