Myanmar’s junta is at war with the people of Myanmar, and children are the war’s innocent victims. Without a prompt return to the path of democracy and concerted remedial action, Myanmar’s children will become a lost generation.
The military’s 1 February 2021 coup has meant disaster for Myanmar’s children.
Military attacks on civilian populations have displaced more than 250,000 children, who join the roughly 130,000 children in protracted displacement and the more than half million child refugees from Myanmar in neighboring countries. The junta has arbitrarily detained over 1,400 children with at least 61 children currently being held hostage by the junta. Junta forces have tortured at least 142 children since the coup was launched. They have beaten, cut and stabbed children, burned them with cigarettes, forced them to hold stress positions, subjected them to mock executions, and deprived them of food and water. 33,000 children could die preventable deaths in 2022 alone, merely because they have not received routine immunizations. 1.3 million children and more than 700,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women require nutritional support. 7.8 million children remain out of school.
The relentless attacks on children underscore the depths of the military junta’s depravity and its willingness to inflict immense misery and hardship on innocent victims to try and subjugate the people of Myanmar. The suffering of children is further reason why the international community must rethink and reset its response to the worsening crisis in Myanmar. The world must return its attention to Myanmar and commit to doing everything reasonably possible to ensure that Myanmar’s children are able to enjoy fundamental human rights, starting with the right to life.
Member States, regional organizations, the Security Council, and other UN entities must respond to the crisis in Myanmar with the same urgency they have responded to the crisis in Ukraine. This requires a dramatic increase in humanitarian assistance and unequivocal regional support for refugees. It requires stronger and more unified targeted economic sanctions and coordinated financial investigations. It requires Member States that have imposed relatively little or no pressure on the junta to reassess their positions and take action. It requires Security Council Members to finally put a resolution forward for consideration, debate and a vote.
The stakes for Myanmar’s children, and for Myanmar’s future, could not be higher.
Source: UN Human Rights Council