This report shows that despite nearly a decade of international engagement and the June 2012 signing of a Joint Action Plan to end the recruitment and use of children between the Myanmar government and the UN, children continue to be recruited and used as soldiers by the Tatmadaw Kyi (Myanmar army) and the Border Guard Forces (BGFs) in the country.
Some releases of children have taken place from the Tatmadaw Kyi but as yet no programs are in place to verify the presence of children in BGFs. Children are also formally and informally associated with the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army (KNU/KNLA) and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), two armed groups on which research has been conducted for this report.
The report recommends that international assistance provided to Myanmar needs to mainstream the prevention of recruitment of children and their use in hostilities by ensuring that recruitment procedures used by the Myanmar army and the BGF are strengthened and effective age verification measures introduced. The report urges the Myanmar Peace Centre (set up by the government with the support of the international community) to ensure that protection of children is made an integral part of on-going negotiations with armed groups. Independent access by the UN and other agencies is vital to ensure the verification and release of children from the ranks of the groups.