MOFA: News: Letter to the Editor

News & Views : Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Jun 22, 2001

The Editor
The New York Times

Reference: When Children go to war.
Editorial of 18th June 2001

Dear Sir,

Having spent considerable time in the United States for my graduates studies and thereafter. I greatly admire the role of the press in molding public opinion. I also have high respect for the New York Times. I am therefore greatly disappointed that, in your otherwise worthy editorial, you have used the emotive issue of children in armed conflicts to cast aspersion on Myanmar. The picture painted by you of the army recruiting children as young as 10 to use as human mine sweepers is completely untrue. Had you consulted many international NGO’s operating in Myanmar, they could have told you that although Myanmar is a developing country, because of religion, cultural tradition, and social ethos, there are no street children in Myanmar. No children have been rounded up to be used as mine sweepers by our Armed Forces. It is only the rebel forces, which are recruiting child soldiers.

As I had been a civilian instructor, teaching economics at the Defence Services Academy for five years, I can tell you that the minimum age for recruitment into our Armed Forces is eighteen, which is strictly adhered to by recruiting centres and the recruitment is only on a voluntary basis.

Children are our future. No one should use the cause of children to fulfill a political agenda. It will diminish this worthy cause.

Aung Htoo
First Secretary
Permanent Mission of Myanmar
Phone: 212 535 1310

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2001 3:12 PM