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Human Rights Watch Report on  Child Soldiers in Burma - 2002-10-16


A leading human rights group says children as young as 12 are being kidnapped into Burma's army, where they are sent into combat and forced to commit human rights abuses.

The New York based group, Human Rights Watch, issued a report concluding that as many as 70-thousand of Burma's 350-thousand soldiers are under the age of 18.

The report says Burma's army preys on children using threats, intimidation and often violence to force young boys to become soldiers. It says that being a boy in Burma means facing the constant risk of being picked up off the street, forced to commit atrocities against villagers and never seeing your family again.

Burma's government denies the allegations in the report -- while a spokeswoman for the rights group says Burma's record of child soldiers is the worst in the world.

According to the report, Burma's rebel groups also use child soldiers, but not at as high a rate as the national army.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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