YANGON, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) — Myanmar's military has released 101 child soldiers this year, increasing the total number of child soldiers rescued to 800 since 2012, authorities said Monday.
The country signed a joint action plan with the United Nations to end and prevent the use and recruitment of child soldiers in 2012.
The freed children will benefit from social-economic reintegration programs, including access to education, vocational training, income generating activities, to restart their lives.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar military authorities has recently punished 382 military personnel, including 73 officers, for recruiting child soldiers.
Hailing Myanmar's move, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) on Grave Violations against Children would continue to work in partnership with Myanmar to completely end the involvement of under-aged children in armed conflicts.
Myanmar military recently reviewed its action plan, acknowledging progress made so far and defining essential remaining steps to strengthen oversight all over the recruitment process to prevent underage recruitment.
They will also focus on accountability for civilian or military perpetrators of underage recruitment, increased protection in the law, and further training for military personnel.
Under the coordination of the Ministry of social Welfare Relief and Resettlement, various partners will provide immediate support for the reintegration of these children, with an emphasis on access to education and vocational training, and income generating activities.
Myanmar's Ministry of Education has also been making efforts since 2014 to ensure children discharged from the armed forces can join school without delay.
UNICEF called for continued efforts to systematically provide children with effective protection against any form of abuse.
Myanmar signed an 18-month Action Plan with the United Nations' Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting in 2012, which has been renewed every six months.
Before that, the country had set up a Committee for Prevention against Recruiting Minors into Army in 2005 and had been making efforts to prevent recruiting minors into military service.
The country also set up a National Committee on the Rights of Children, committed to ensuring the basic rights of children, to protect them from harmful influence, abuse and exploitation, and help them participate fully in family, cultural and social life.