NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
In November 2012 a petition signed was handed into the Petitions Committee of the Welsh Assembly (WA) calling for a ban on the UK armed forces from entering schools for the purposes of recruitment. The petition suggested that the armed forces target schools in the most deprived areas for new recruits. The Chair of the Assembly Petitions Committee, William Powell, accepted the document from Arfon Rhys of the Society for Reconciliation, who was supported by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and fellow Plaid AMs. Mr Powell said:
“Armed forces recruitment in our schools is clearly a deeply contentious issue and I am grateful to lead petitioner Arfon Rhys for bringing it to the Petitions Committee’s attention. We have written to the Minister for Education and Skills for his view on the petition and have also commissioned research to detail the differences between armed forces recruitment in the UK and other EU nations.”
It was not the first time concern about the military targeting children in deprived areas has been criticised: almost ten years ago an SNP MSP Christine Graham criticised such visits to schools in Scotland. At the time she said:
“What we are seeing is complete desperation brought about by a combination of the ongoing Iraq war, amalgamation of the Scottish regiments and the allegations that young recruits are being murdered at training facilities such as Deepcut.
“Army chiefs appear to have made a decision to move into Scottish schools and, more disturbingly, they appear to be targeting schools in particularly deprived parts of the country.
“I am calling on education bosses in every council area to prohibit visits by recruiters. If pupils want to join the Army, then there are numerous recruitment centres around Scotland which they can choose to visit.”
Just how sneaky the Military are in relation to their ‘targeting’ of vulnerable children is demonstrated by this publication of the Welsh Government about tackling deprivation in schools.
On page 37 there is a section about the ‘Army Cadet Force Association Outreach Scheme’.
Quite frankly it’s disappointing that such a document is published by the WA immediately before the Petitions Committee gives its view on Army activity in Schools.
What is perhaps even more alarming is that it also comes just months after a major sex abuse scandal which revealed the MOD had paid millions of pounds to young people physically and sexually abused in the Army Cadet Forces! (see links):
Defence Sec Asked Why MOD Paid Hush Money in Abuse Cases
Military Cadets Abuse Goes on as Child Commissioners Mark Time
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.
The Celtic League was established in 1961 and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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