Min Lyon – Switzerland-based INGO Geneva Call signed an agreement with the New Mon State Party (NMSP) vowing to eliminate the use of child soldiers, and organized a joint workshop on children’s rights and protection in Mon State. While Geneva Call has conducted several such training sessions along the Thai-Burmese border, this will be the first event of its kind in collaboration with the NMSP.“This is the first time we’ve held a workshop related to child protection. Now NMSP leaders will learn much more about this issue. For me, it is really good to have this kind of workshop,” said Nai Hongsar Bon Khine, head of NMSP’s Foreign Affairs Office.
The 2-day workshop was held on Nov. 26 and 27 after being organized from NMSP’s Sangkhlaburi-based liaison office, close to Three Pagodas Pass on the Thai-Burmese border. Around 30 participants from NMSP headquarters and NMSP district units were present.
Nai Hongsar Bon Khine also said that Geneva Call has offered to conduct a workshop about women’s rights and protection.
The workshop was led by Mr. Chris Rush, Geneva Call’s Senior Program Officer for Asia, and Mr. Reno Meyer, the Officer for Asia.
“I think it’s great to have this workshop, as it is about ending the use of child soldiers in conflicts. Now they will be consulting with Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA), Mon community based organizations and other organizations to finding solutions,” said Nai Aue Mon, coordinator of Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) and interpreter for the workshop.
NMSP and Geneva Call signed an Anti-child soldier agreement in August 2012. While the rate of childhood military enlistment is unknown in Mon State, child labor has recently been proclaimed as a major concern in the state.
Geneva Call, based in Geneva, Switzerland, was formed about 13 years ago with the objectives of banning anti-personnel mines, protecting the environment, and eliminating sexual violence and abuse of children.