In 2004 the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers reported that in Asia thousands of children are involved in fighting forces in active conflict and ceasefire situations in Afghanistan, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Nepal and Sri Lanka, although government refusal of access to conflict zones has made it impossible to document the numbers involved. In 2004 Burma was unique in the region, as the only country where government armed forces forcibly recruit and use children between the ages of 12 and 16.
Burma - As many as 70 000 boys serve in Burma's national army, with children as young as 12 forcibly recruited off the streets. Approximately 5 000-7 000 children serve with a range of different armed ethnic opposition groups.
Iraq - Child soldiers are being used in the militias of the current Iraqi insurgency.
Laos - Males are subject to compulsory military service from the age of 15.
Nepal - An estimated 6 000-9 000 children serve in the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) forces. Although a peace agreement is in place, the Maoists have not yet demobilized children from their ranks. Palestine - Child soldiers are also being used by Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers 2004 Global Report on the Use of Child Soldiers, there were at least nine documented suicide attacks involving Palestinian minors between October 2000 and March 2004: "There was no evidence of systematic recruitment of children by Palestinian armed groups. However, children are used as messengers and couriers, and in some cases as fighters and suicide bombers in attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. All the main political groups involve children in this way, including Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine."
Arab journalist Huda Al-Hussein wrote in London Arab newspaper on October 27, 2000: "While UN organizations save child-soldiers, especially in Africa, from the control of militia leaders who hurl them into the furnace of gang-fighting, some Palestinian leaders... consciously issue orders with the purpose of ending their childhood, even if it means their last breath." On May 23, 2005, Amnesty International reiterated its calls to Palestinian armed groups to put an immediate end to the use of children in armed activities: "Palestinian armed groups must not use children under any circumstances to carry out armed attacks or to transport weapons or other material."
The Philippines - Children are recruited by rebel forces, including the New People's Army, Abu Sayyaf Group, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). An estimated 13 percent of the 10 000 soldiers in the MILF are children. Child recruitment is also reported by some paramilitary forces linked to the government.
Sri Lanka - In Sri Lanka, thousands of children are believed to be in the ranks of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a rebel group banned as a terrorist organization by a number of countries. Since signing a ceasefire agreement in 2001, the latest available UNICEF figures show that the LTTE has abducted 5 666 children until July 2006, although the organization speculates that only about a third of such cases are reported to them. Sri Lankan soldiers nicknamed one unit the Baby Battalion, due to the number of children in it. In response to widespread international condemnation of alleged children recruitment practices, the LTTE informed that they have made (taking effect in Oct. 2006) child recruitment illegal for its groups.
More recently, the para-military group known as the Karuna Group, which is apparently a splinter group from the LTTE, has been held responsible for the abduction of children according to UNICEF and Human Rights Watch.