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42 child soldiers 'released from Myanmar army'

Sept. 3, 2012, a Myanmar soldier gives the national identity card to child soldiers who were recruited into the army before reaching the age of 18. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

YANGON: Dozens of child soldiers have been discharged from the Myanmar military, state media said Tuesday, months after the country agreed with the United Nations to curb the use of underage recruits.

Forty-two minors were allowed to resign from the armed forces and were handed over to their parents in Yangon on Monday, according to the official New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

There are believed to be thousands of under-18s in Myanmar's state army and ethnic armed groups, although the exact figure is unknown.

In June Myanmar signed an agreement with the U.N. pledging to prevent the use of child soldiers and allow access to military units to check for underage recruits.

The agreement was part of efforts by Myanmar's reformist government to shed its international pariah image following the end of decades of military rule last year.

 

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