The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, congratulates the Government of Myanmar for ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC).
Myanmar’s Union Minister for International Cooperation, His Excellency Mr. U Kyaw Tin, deposited the accession instrument during a ceremony that took place on the margins of the 74th General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York.
“The international engagement taken today by the Government of Myanmar to better protect its children is a welcome step. It is a commitment to put in place all the necessary measures to protect them from recruitment and use by both its armed forces and armed groups active in the country”, said Virginia Gamba.
Provisions on the demobilization and reintegration of all children under 18 and children presumed present in the ranks of Myanmar’s armed forces are also included in OPAC, a commitment already under implementation through the Security Council-mandated Joint Action Plan signed with the United Nations in 2012.
The Special Representative calls on the Government of Myanmar to swiftly translate this commitment into tangible measures for the protection of boys and girls and to end and prevent all six grave violations against children, including the killing and maiming of children and rape and other forms of sexual violence.
She further recommends the Government of Myanmar to refrain from enrolling children, including on a voluntary basis, into military academies.
Myanmar becomes the 169th State party to the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, as OPAC will mark its 20th anniversary next year.