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But the International Community Should Do Much More to Ensure that the Refugees Can Safely Return to Myanmar

In late May, thousands of Rohingya refugees whom Bangladesh authorities had relocated to remote Bhasan Char island broke out of their shelters during a visit by United Nations representatives. “We don’t want to live here,” they chanted.…
A man climbs through barbed wire fencing at a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, as a massive fire swept through the camps on March 22, 2021.
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“Azida” is a 12-year-old girl, born in Myanmar, but now growing up in neighboring Bangladesh. Forced out of her home at age 10 by a military campaign of ethnic cleansing, she now lives in the sprawling Cox’s Bazar refugee camps on the southern…
Posters inside a “learning center”
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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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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'We kept climbing higher and higher as the boat was sinking,'' Arif B. told me, describing how he spent three nights clinging to a sinking boat as he tried to reach Australia. Many of his fellow passengers died, he said.   Arif was only 15 when he fled…
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Accepted under the "Addressing Inequalities" Global Thematic Consultation - Call for Proposals for Background Papers, 2012

Human Rights Watch is actively reporting on this topic and an updated version of this article can be found here: Breaking the Poverty Trap - Why Poverty and Inequality are Human Rights Issues To learn about Human Rights Watch’s continuing work on…
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“If I looked nice, he hit me,” Ana L., a mother of five in Colombia, told me. Ana (not her real name) detailed years of abuse by her partner. He beat her when she was pregnant, and hit her head so hard that she suffered permanent vision damage. She sought…
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After years of seemingly never-ending conflict and repression, Burma's neighbours and the world are watching the changes there with interest and cautious optimism. And for the 140,000 Burma refugees in Thailand, many stuck in camps on the border for…
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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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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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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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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…