(All people can be identified but no names except the CO)
(In purple) Naw May Lyan (46) a Community Organiser (CO) for the The Myanmar Council of Churches talks with ex Burmese Army child soldiers and their parents in a village in the Irrawaddy delta region. May Lyan helped secure the release of these child soldiers by helping locate the children, most of whom were taken to the army between the ages of 14-16, then being the contact between the desperate parents and the government, army and the International Labour Organisation who helped secure them release papers.
She now lives in Yangon and has been a CO for 4 years and has dealt with issues such as child soldiers, land confiscation and labour disputes. She said, âI will carry on this work because the ordinary people are exploited and abused and if I donât stand up for them no one will help them.
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.
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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.