Saturday, November 3, 2007

Burma's Child Soldiers

Facing a military staffing crisis, the Burmese government is forcibly recruiting many children, some as young as age 10, into its armed forces. Military recruiters are literally buying and selling children in order to meet unrelenting demands for new recruits due to continued army expansion, high desertion rates and a lack of willing volunteers. Non-state armed groups, including ethnic-based insurgent groups, also recruit and use child soldiers, though in far smaller numbers.

Human Rights Watch recently released a report on “Sold to be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma". All are invited to join in a live, timely and important discussion on this topic:

WHO Jo Becker, Children’s Rights Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

WHAT Burma Roundtable: The Recruitment and use of Child Soldiers

WHEN Monday, November 5, 2007, 1:00 PM-2:30 PM

WHERE Human Rights Watch, 1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. (Dupont Circle Metro, Q Street Exit)

Jo Becker is also the founding chairperson of the international Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. In 2002, she helped research the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Burma for Human Rights Watch’s report, “My Gun was as Tall as Me: Child Soldiers in Burma.” This year, she oversaw a follow-up investigation resulting in the new report, which was just released on October 31, 2007.

To RSVP contact Jon Cohen at 202-612-4338, or Space is limited.

All comments are strictly off the record. The Burma Roundtable is a gathering of NGOs, Congressional staff, administration officials and concerned individuals that meets periodically to discuss human rights, humanitarian assistance and other issues in Burma.

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