Child Soldier 3 (18)
(Identity can be shown but name changed)
Child Soldier 3 (18) was 14 and living in the Irrawaddy Delta region when his uncle sold him into the Burmese Army for $200 and a bag of rice. He ran away after 2 days but was caught, put in the army prison and beaten. He had to spend over 2 years in the army.
His father spent one year trying to find out about his son but got nowhere until he heard about Myanmar Council of Churches Community Organiser Naw May Lyan and how she had helped other families find their sons. They contacted her and May Lyan then managed to prove he was underage for the army and secure his release papers just as he was being sent to the front lines in the border regions. He is now working with his family on their farm in the delta region.
The use of child soldiers remain a controversial issue within both the Burmese Army and the numerous ethnic group militias. There are an estimated 5,000 child soldiers still active in the Burmese Army. The government have said they would demobilise them but progress has been slow.
(See Extended Captions Word document for full details.(
With the support of Act for Peace, The Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC) trains Community Organisers whose mission is to assist their community confront cases of injustice. The Community Organisers act as a base of knowledge and intermediary between the community and relevant organisations dealing with injustice such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), UNICEF, anti-trafficking police, lawyers and government officials.
From 1962 to 2011, a military junta ruled Myanmar, suppressing almost all opposition and exercised absolute power. During those periods, the people suffered human rights abuses, including the forcible relocation of civilians and the widespread use of forced labour, including children. On 1st April 2011, the Burmese Military Regime stepped down for the Democratisation of the country.
Progress has been made in the country but it still has a long way to go before all human rights are restored.