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ILO and Germany sign an agreement on the elimination of underage recruitment in Myanmar

The agreement signed by Germany and the International Labour Organization is part of a project in line with the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention No. 29.

News | 23 July 2009

GENEVA – The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the International Labour Organization (ILO) will cooperate in the implementation of a project in Myanmar entitled “Elimination of Underage Recruitment in Myanmar”. To this end, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany has donated 737,055 USD covering the period July 2009-May 2010.

In line with the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention No. 29, the project aims to:

• ensure that conscription and enlistment procedures are in line with the applicable international and national laws;

• promote legal, administrative and other measures to prevent under-age recruitment;

• respect the principle that the release of all children recruited or used unlawfully by armed forces or groups shall be sought unconditionally at all times;

• support monitoring and reporting efforts at the national, regional and international levels;

• ensure that recruited under-age children are treated as victims and not perpetrators.

In March 2002, the ILO and the Government of Myanmar agreed that an ILO Liaison Officer would be stationed in Myanmar to assist the country with the eradication of forced labour. In 2007, a complaints mechanism for victims of forced labour was introduced. The Liaison Officer and his staff are responsible for this mechanism. A considerable and increasing number of cases covered have involved the recruitment of minors into the armed forces.

The ILO has obtained discharge papers for the vast majority of the child soldier cases that have been brought to its attention. Since the forced labour mechanism has been in place, 63 cases of recruitment of a minor have been reported to the ILO.

The UN-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on grave violations of children’s rights is the product of many years of focused efforts to improve the situation of children affected by armed conflict. In 2004, Security Council Resolution 1539 laid the groundwork for the creation of a mechanism to monitor violations of children’s rights by providing timely, objective, accurate, and reliable information to the UN Security Council and others.

The Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR), comprising UN agencies and child protection actors, is the main coordination structure for the MRM. The ILO is the focal point for issues of under-age recruitment and child soldier monitoring and reporting within this framework.