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1,700 Child Soldiers Reunite With Their Parents In Myanmar

In September 2018, the Myanmar government released 75 children and young people who were recruited and used by the military in the only discharge to take place last year.

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Myanmar
Colonel Tun Tun Win of Myanmar's Ministry of Defense speaks at a workshop on the creation of a complaint mechanism to report instances of forced labor, in Naypyidaw, Jan. 17, 2019. (RFA)

More than 1,700 child soldiers in Myanmar have been reunited with their parents, and about 800 military officers and other army personnel who recruited and used them have been punished, a defense ministry official said Thursday during a workshop in Naypyidaw to discuss the creation of a complaint mechanism to report instances of forced labor.

Colonel Tun Tun Win of the Ministry of Defense said that the army has taken action against the use of child soldiers in Myanmar based on regulations of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency that sets global labor standards and promotes social protection for workers.

“In response to the ILO’s regulations, the Tatmadaw [Myanmar military] has taken action from 2007 to 2018 against a total of 379 military personnel, including 64 officers and 315 other ranks in accordance with military discipline,” he said.

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Child Soldiers, Representational Iamge

At the same time, the U.N. Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR), co-chaired by June Kunugi, UNICEF’s representative to Myanmar, and Knut Ostby, the U.N.’s highest representative and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar, to report on grave violations committed against children during times of armed conflict, has taken action against 448 military personnel, including 96 officers and 352 other ranks, he said.

The punishments included sending military personnel to both civilian and army jails as well as demotions, Tun Tun Win said.

Besides sending nearly 1,730 child soldiers home, the army is addressing the issue in a transparent manner, he said.

Saw Tin Win, a lawmaker who is a member of the Farmers and Workers Affairs Committee in Myanmar’s lower house of parliament, said his committee receives about 40 complaints about the military’s use of child soldiers every month, though only two or three have been returned.

un human rights council
U.N.’s highest representative and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar

“Some underage children were allowed to resign from the service, while other cases remain under investigation,” he said. “And some children were not allowed to resign during their recruitment period.”He also said that the committee had gathered evidence of underage children being used as child soldiers and then sent complaint letters to the defense ministry.

Thein Swe, Myanmar’s minister for labor, immigration, and population said that the Myanmar military is cooperating with both the CTFMR and the ILO on the child soldier issue.

“It also has taken action if complaints were submitted under the Supplementary Understanding agreement,” he said.

The February 2007 agreement between the Myanmar government and the ILO provides for a complaint mechanism under which individuals can submit cases of forced labor under the ILO Convention 29 concerning forced labor, and including underage recruitment, to the ILO liaison officer in Yangon.

“For instance, if the Tatmadaw cooperated on the issue of child soldier recruitment, then it took action against those who recruit underage children and notified us once the issue had been resolved,” Thein Swe said.

He also said that the ministry would address the issue of forced labor by ethnic armed groups in Myanmar, but did not elaborate.

Widespread use of child soldiers

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Besides sending nearly 1,730 child soldiers home, the army is addressing the issue in a transparent manner, he said.

The use of child soldiers in Myanmar has been widespread since the country’s independence from colonial ruler Britain in 1948. For decades, the national military has engaged in hostilities with several ethnic armies fighting for varying degrees of autonomy in their states.

Some of the ethnic armies that are fighting against Myanmar forces, and some of the forces allied with them, also have recruited and used child soldiers, though the numbers have been much lower than those recruited and used by the Myanmar military.

In 2007, Myanmar and the U.N. began negotiations on ending the use child soldiers that culminated in a joint action plan in June 2012 to stop the recruitment and use of children by the armed forces.

Three years later, Myanmar signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC), also known as the international child soldier treaty, but has yet to ratify it to make it fully binding.

Also Read: Reuters Journalists’ Appeal Gets Rejected by Myanmar Court

In 2017, the country signed the Paris Principles and Commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces and groups and to reintegrate those who have been associated with armed forces into civilian life.

In September 2018, the Myanmar government released 75 children and young people who were recruited and used by the military in the only discharge to take place last year.

(Reported by Win Ko Ko Latt for RFA’s Myanmar Service.)

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Travellers’ Wishlist for Post Pandemic World

Airbnb's internal data reveals future trip planning through search and wish lists created by guests

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People around the world are ready with their future travel plans. Pixabay

As communities around the world slowly begin to open their doors, the idea of future travel is beginning to inspire everyone who has been home sheltering according to Travel News.

From cozy mountain cabins to beat the summer, poolside respites to cool off the heat wave, it’s the outdoors which is calling out to everyone. People have spentmonths cocooned at home, and despite the fear, they want to get out and travel, to live again. As travel planning starts to rebound, Indians are eager to get out onto the road and drive down to their favourite spot for a short staycation.

Short “drivable” destinations are what people are looking at, as air travel remain uncertain, people want to get to a place within short travel time of their homes. The beaches of Goa, the mountains in Himachal, the cool air of Mahabaleshwar are just some of the domestic holiday destinations that are trending.

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The beaches of Goa is just one of the domestic holiday destinations that are trending. Pixabay

Airbnb’s internal data reveals early signs of future trip planning through search and wish lists created by guests ready to reconnect with each other and the world. Travel might be restricted for now, but that isn’t stopping guests from dreaming of one-of-a-kind experiences in far flung destinations. Week-over-week, guests are increasingly turning to wish lists to save listings they hope to travel to one day.

Luxury Penthouses and villas in Goa: India’s tourist hot spot, Goa, is now just a flight away. Travelers can book dreamy villas placed in the heart of Goa, that are perfect to satisfy your travel cravings. With breathtaking views, your own plunge pool and one or two friends or family is all you need.

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Airbnb’s internal data reveals early signs of future trip planning through search and wish lists created by guests. Pixabay

The pollution levels are at an all-time low and the view of the Himalayan Mountain tops are what most travelers are dreaming about. A road trip into the hills with cooler temperatures and the panoramic views of the snowy peaks from your personal sauna, are sure to tick some boxes of your travel bucket list. There are many cottages one can rent with amenities which will make you feel it’s your home away from home.

The Indian capital is home to lavish apartments that could turn your weekend around. From luxury terrace apartments to which farmhouses, its the perfect abode to take a short weekend staycation with your partner.

An artist studio in Jaipur surrounded by heritage buildings, palaces and forts will transport you to a bygone era.

Villas are also the top 10 most wish listed space types globally and they stand second in the wish list inclusions at more than 20 percent growth week-over-week4. When it comes to special occasions beach fronts were the top pick before lockdown. Top keywords from wish lists created in the last 60 days indicate guests are looking to Airbnb to commemorate special occasions that may have been cancelled and are also looking to enjoy the sun in the warmer months ahead.

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People are planning Getaway after the lockdown is lifted and travelling is permitted. Pixabay

Top wish list keywords include:

Beach

Birthday/Bday

Wedding

Honeymoon

Anniversary

Getaway

Vacation

2020, Summer, Summer 2020

Online Experiences – The New Dinner and a Show

Also Read: Above 51% Women Believe Indian Schools Don’t Have Menstrual Awareness Programme: Survey

Online Experiences have swiftly evolved to be one of guests’ favorite ways to be transported to new destinations while at home, with 20,000 seats booked in the first two weeks since its launch in April.

According to a recently commissioned Airbnb online survey, 63 percent guests booked Online Experiences to be entertained, 60 percent to learn something new, and 67 percent chose to book to experience other cultures and lifestyles. Food and Drink is the most popular category, accounting for nearly 40 percent of seats booked, but guests are being drawn to a number of distinctive activities. (IANS)

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Let The World Move on, After Adding COVID 19 to List of Diseases

COVID 19 is the latest addition to rest of diseases in the world

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COVID 19
Today, it would look odd, if anyone would say that the world has over reacted to COVID 19 and sacrificed it’s social and economic interests. Pixabay

By N.S.Venkataraman

From historical times, human beings have been surviving,  inspite of  several types of diseases  confronting them.  In such conditions, medical science to safeguard  human beings from diseases have been developed due to the compelling need for survival of humanity.

Traditional medicines :

In ancient India, there were reports of several medicinal practices and development of  several types of drugs for treatment of different types of illness , which were mostly based on natural products  and not developed by synthetic process. Traditionally, such Indian medical practices have been termed as Ayurveda, Siddha etc.

In other countries too, such traditional medical practices have prevailed under various names such as homeopathy , Unani etc.

In short, the world have been living with diseases from time immemorial and has been responding to the diseases by developing appropriate medical procedures from time to time.

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While the panicked world is still viewing COVID 19 with great fear and medical researchers are striving hard to develop treatment procedures. Pixabay

Development of new diseases :

With the changing life style of people, development of synthetic production processes for  cosmetics , chemicals,  fertilisers, pesticides,  etc. and  environmental hazards created by industrial operations and transportation, promotion of new food items etc. newer diseases have also  been steadily arising.

Efforts of medical researchers :

The medical researchers have not lagged behind and have been developing new drugs and vaccines to treat the new and emerging diseases.

Some of the synthetic drugs developed for treatment of diseases were also reported to have side effects , which cause more diseases and sickness .

Regulatory authorities have been from, time to time, imposing ban on some of these drugs, due to unacceptable side effects,  though the damage due to such banned drugs would have already happened.

COVID 19  latest addition :

 COVID 19 is the latest addition to rest of diseases in the world.

Huge international efforts have now been taken up to identify the root cause of COVID 19 and develop appropriate drug / vaccine to treat the disease.

Given the past success ratings of medical researchers in handling other diseases, one can be hopeful that before long,  appropriate drug / vaccine would also be developed to treat COVID 19 patients.

Limitations of medical research :

While the medical research have developed phenomenally , the medical research have not been able to prevent the occurrence of the disease , except in a few cases. Of course, in the case of  polio attack, vaccines given to the children at the right time have largely eliminated the polio disease in the world.

However, this cannot be said about several of diseases such as cancer, influenza etc. which continue to occur at very high level and are being treated.

Similar situation may prevail in  future in the case of COVID 19 too, with medical researchers unable to prevent it but only treat it.

Alarm due to COVID 19 :

In the case of COVID 19,  the world has reacted with huge alarm , as if the COVID 19  would wipe out the entire human race.

Several world governments have declared lockdown and brought the global economy nearly to a half , like of which it has never happened before in human history.

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While the panicked world is still viewing COVID 19 with great fear and medical researchers are striving hard to develop treatment procedures, certainly the day will come when the world would reconcile itself to the prevalence of COVID 19 , just as it has reconciled itself to the prevalence of diseases like cancer, flu etc. and would also be prepared to treat the disease with appropriate procedures.

Is there over reaction to COVID 19 crisis ?:

Possibly, after six months or so from now,  when COVID 19 crisis would settle down, the world community would look back at the COVID 19 crisis and would wonder whether the world has over reacted to the COVID 19.

The world would calculate the number of people infected by COVID 19, recovered and died. Then, after reading this calculations, the world would inevitably come to the conclusion that it has not been as bad at all  as it was feared at one time, as the world community would remain intact after COVID-19 crisis.

It is estimated that around 0.15 million people die in the world every day due to various reasons such as old age, cancer, heart attack, kidney failure, virus attack  etc. It translates to around 54 million people die in the world every year.

Till date, around 0.25 million people have died due to COVID-19 over the last four or five months.

Probably, when the COVID-19 crisis would end one day , the number of deaths due to COVID-19 could be just less than 1 million, considering worst scenario.

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Probably, when the COVID 19 crisis would end one day , the number of deaths due to COVID 19 could be just less than 1 million, considering worst scenario. Pixabay

In future, after the end of present COVID-19 crisis  such scale of deaths due to COVID-19 are unlikely, in view of the development of appropriate drugs to treat it.

This projected death figure of just less than one million due to the on going COVID19 crisis, do not add much to the worldwide  death of 54 million every year in normal times.

Lives vis a vis livelihood debate :

Of course, death is natural and inevitable. It occurs for people in various age groups and due to natural / disease factors  and unnatural factors such as accidents, murders, war etc.   Every individual  has to reconcile oneself to the inevitable event of death that would happen one day for everybody.

In such circumstances, is it appropriate that the world economy should have been brought down to the level of stagnant or decelerating growth over several months in the year 2020, fearing COVID-19.

Due to such near global lockdown, billions of poor people have been put to hardships , large number of people have lost the jobs, many production centres are facing  closure and appears that it would take some time for the world to recover from this losses due to lockdown , fearing COVID 19.

Also Read- ICMR Reports Conducting Over a Million COVID-19 Tests

How future days would view COVID 19 crisis ?

Today, it would look odd,  if anyone would say that the world has over reacted to COVID 19 and sacrificed it’s social and economic interests.

As the days go by, perhaps, in the beginning of 2021  the world would realize that after all, it could have  been a case of over reaction by the world community with regard to COVID 19 crisis.

In future, the world would add COVID 19 to the list of diseases prevailing in the world , treatment procedures would be evolved and some people would succumb and some people would recover.

World will move on,  just as it has been moving on even as it is confronted with diseases like cancer, flu, kidney failure , heart ailment etc.

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Life After Lockdown- A New World

Here’s how the post-lockdown world will be like

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life after lockdown
The question that arises in most minds is, what will life be like once the lockdown is lifted? It will be a completely changed world.

By Kanan Parmar 

The empty streets, clean air and unusually silent neighbourhoods, this is probably the first time that people are experiencing a lockdown of this sort.

The question that arises in most minds is, what will life be like once the lockdown is lifted? It will be a completely changed world. What seems abnormal to us now will be the new normal.

From travelling to going shopping, everything will be changed! For a long time you will notice people wearing gloves and masks because the fear would still stay.  Social distancing will become a habit. The six-feet distance rule will just become a part of our lives. At public places, you’ll mostly smell sanitizers.

life after lockdown
Post the lockdown, social distancing will become the new norm.

Here’s how the post-lockdown world will be like:

  • At Airports

    Fewer flight will be flown so that there isn’t any overcrowding. Screening and sanitisation will be compulsory. Passengers may have to report earlier, maybe 2-3 hours before the flight. Half the seats in the flight would be vacant and most probably, no meals would be served.

  • Metro Stations and Railway stations

    A face shield would be worn by the staff at metro stations. Thermal screening would be done and sanitizers would be available. There will be increased security surveillance. People will eventually stop complaining about the overcrowding in trains.

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life after lockdown
Even when the lockdown is lifted and the pandemic ends, wearing gloves and masks would be compulsory. Pixabay
  • At Cinema Halls

    Thermal screening would be done at the entrances. Theatres would be sanitized after every show. Fewer movie tickets will be distributed as seats will have to be left vacant. Theatre will be all cashless.

  • While shopping

    There will be restrictions on trying clothes. Most stores scratch off their return and refund policy. While some retailers may only allow appointment-based entries.

Also Read- In Photos: Healthcare Workers Around the World Fighting COVID-19

The pandemic may end but the fears will revolve throughtout lifestime. Not a single soul will move out of their houses without sanitizers. People will have improved hygiene practices. Most importantly people have morally realised the importance of things they used to ignore in their daily lives.