Children’s rights in Myanmar are facing an onslaught that risks leaving an entire generation damaged, the UN Child Rights Committee (CRC) has warned.
Since the military coup, 75 children have been killed, about 1,000 arbitrarily detained and countless more deprived of essential medical care and education, according to credible information obtained by the Committee.
“Children in Myanmar are under siege and facing catastrophic loss of life because of the military coup,” Mikiko Otani, Chair of the CRC, said. The Committee monitors the compliance by States parties to the Child Rights Convention. Myanmar acceded to the Convention in 1991.
The Committee strongly condemned the killing of children by the junta and police. Some victims were killed in their own homes, including a six-year old girl in the city of Mandalay, who was shot in the stomach by police and died in her father’s arms.
The CRC also deplored the arbitrary detention of children in police stations, prisons and military detention centres. The military authorities have reportedly taken children as hostages when they are unable to arrest their parents. Among those detained is a five-year-old girl in the Mandalay region whose father helped organize protests against the junta.
“Children are exposed to indiscriminate violence, random shootings and arbitrary arrests every day. They have guns pointed at them, and see the same happen to their parents and siblings,” Otani warned.
The Committee is profoundly concerned at the major disruption of essential medical care and school education in the entire country, as well as access to safe drinking water and food for children in rural areas.
The UN Human Rights Office has received credible reports about hospitals, schools and religious institutions being occupied by security forces and subsequently damaged in military actions.
According to UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, a million children in Myanmar are missing key vaccinations. More than 40,000 children are no longer getting treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
“As a result of the military coup and conflicts, children’s right to life, survival and development have been repeatedly violated,” said Otani.
“If this crisis continues, an entire generation of children is at risk of suffering profound physical, psychological, emotional, educational and economic consequences, depriving them of a healthy and productive future.”
The Committee called for immediate action to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis and urged Myanmar to uphold its obligations under the Convention to protect and promote children’s rights to the utmost degree.