Narinjara news

Burmese junta issues orders to stop forced conscription

Sittwe, 5th November:  The Western Command in Rakhine State in the western part of Burma has issued directives to stop forceful conscription for the Burmese Army, our correspondent quoting an official source said.

Previously the Burmese junta used to allot its administrative units in townships and villages of the state to enlist new recruits for the Burmese Army.  Besides that, every soldier going for official retirement had to find three new recruits as his replacement, without which his retirement used to get delayed or even denied.

The villages which could not fill the quota of the numbers of recruits were made to pay ‘fines’ to the tune of kyat 100,000 or more.  The system became a ‘means’ of earning extra money for those military personnel who came to Rakhine State on official transfer orders.  

Though the ‘official order’ was issued a few months earlier, no one seemed to follow the orders from ‘high above’.  So the junta have been compelled to issue new orders banning forced recruitment soon after the news on child conscription has been talked about in the international arena.

Children as young as 13 and 14 year olds were conscripted from Rakhine State.  An official source told our correspondent that, the number of Rakhine soldiers in the Burmese Army is about 30% out of the total of 350,000 Burmese forces.

The official order included ban on forced conscription, bribing or making monetary deals for escaping from being conscripted, enlistment through allotments made to towns and villages, and troop recruitment by making temptations to minors.  The order also contained threats of punitive actions for non-compliance of the order.  #