Facing a military staffing crisis, the Burmese government is forcibly recruiting many children, some as young as age 10, into its armed forces, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
" Military recruiters are literally buying and selling children to fill the ranks of the Burmese armed forces. "
Jo Becker, childrens rights advocate for Human Rights Watch
Burmese military recruiters target children in order to meet unrelenting demands for new recruits due to continued army expansion, high desertion rates and a lack of willing volunteers.
A previous study on child soldiers in Burma, conducted in 1995 as a case study for the UN study on the impact of armed conflict on children, estimated that the Burma army included 50,000 children under the age of eighteen. The size of the Burma army was then estimated at 265,000, indicating that some 19 percent of the army’s ranks were children. Human Rights Watch’s research suggests a similar proportion of children in the army. Furthermore, as the size of the army has grown, the overall number of child soldiers has increased proportionally.
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