400 child soldiers freed from Myanmar army in 2014: UN
Myanmar's military freed more than 400 child soldiers last year, the United Nations has confirmed, a record number since the "tatmadaw" army signed a 2012 pact with the UN on the issue.
There are no verifiable figures on how many children are currently serving in Myanmar's huge military, which has faced a slew of accusations over rights abuses, including the forced recruitment of children to work as porters or even human mine detectors.
Since the pact was signed, a total of 595 children have been been freed, with 70 percent of the releases -- 418 -- taking place in the last twelve months, including 42 on Friday, the UN said.
"Within a one year period of time, this is a record number of children coming out of the Armed Forces, reflecting the accelerated efforts of the Government of Myanmar and the Tatmadaw to put an end to the harmful practice of recruiting and using children," Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN resident coordinator in Myanmar, said in a statement.
All those released by the military so far were under the age of 18 when the pact with the UN was signed in June 2012.
While human rights groups have welcomed the gradual release of child soldiers, many have decried the fact that Myanmar's military has yet to completely halt their use.
In October, US President Barack Obama decided to keep Myanmar on a list of nations subject to US sanctions over its use of child soldiers.