Despite reforms, Myanmar still recruits child soldiers, says rights group

A human rights group says Myanmar is still recruiting and using child soldiers, despite embracing democratic reforms and a U.N. agreement to end the practice.

Child Soldiers International reports that levels of child recruitment have declined, and 42 children have been released from Myanmar's army since the government signed the agreement last June.

But the London-based group says that although recruitment of children under-18 is outlawed, the practice continues due to a lack of political will to implement safeguards.

Military officers and informal recruiting agents use coercion, violence and deception to obtain new recruits to maintain troop levels in 350,000-strong army that faces high rates of desertion, the group says.

The group says children also remain in the ranks of army-controlled border guard forces and armed opposition groups.