SEOUL, May 13th (IPS) – On a particularly bloody day in March, Myanmar security forces shot and killed at least ten children, some as young as 6, in a violent crackdown on peaceful protests. Since the army took over the country three months ago, More than 50 children Countless others were killed and wounded More than 900 children Young people are being arbitrarily detained across the country.
Security forces also occupied more than 60 schools And universities, exacerbating the education crisis for about 12 million children. This week, as we celebrate 100 days since the Myanmar military took control of the country, the chaos and destruction are showing no signs of slowing down.
Myanmar Army”Blatant disregard for children”Not a new life. They, known as the Tatmadaw, forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya civilians into Bangladesh, most of them children, in 2016-2017. You’ve called this “the hallmarks of genocide.”
The Tatmadaw is documented by the Secretary-General of the United Nations”Grave violations against children across the country year after year, including murder, maiming, sexual violence and attacks on schools and hospitals. Currently, many schools and hospitals have been taken over by the Tatmadaw. At least three high schools were bombed last month, according to groups in Karen State.
As the former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar and a new founding member Myanmar Advisory BoardI saw first-hand the devastating consequences of the brutal Tatmadaw methods on children’s lives.
I’ve seen kids who survived the Tatmadaw’s shooting. It gave me goose bumps when a mother told me that she had to leave her baby, which was thrown in the river, because she had to make sure that her other children were safe while they were displaced to Bangladesh. I heard many similar testimonials.
Since 2003, the Secretary-General has included the Tatmadaw on the recruitment and use of children on his “List of Shame” – a supplement to his annual report on children and armed conflict in which he names those responsible for grave violations against children. Listing is an important accountability tool because it identifies the perpetrators, draws the attention of the United Nations Security Council, and opens the door to engagement with the United Nations to end violations.
But in June 2020, Secretary-General António Guterres He removed the Tatmadaw From its list of child recruitment and use, although in the same report, the United Nations documented 205 cases in which the Tatmadaw had recruited or used children in its ranks in the previous year.
Having reported human rights concerns in Myanmar for many years, I can definitely say that despite Myanmar”The Jordanian Armed Forces pledged to stop the recruitment and use of children in the conflict, and the Tatmadaw did not stop this practice. It is also a known fact that in order to leave the Tatmadaw, a regular soldier had to recruit two children to replace him, because the limits of the service period were ambiguous.
At the time, the Secretary-General said he was removing the Tatmadaw due to the “persistent significant decline” in recruitment and ongoing efforts to prevent new recruitment and the release of any remaining children in its ranks. He also said that removal from the list was conditional and that not ending recruitment and use would be the same Leads to re-embedding. Parties like Tatmadaw removed from the list prematurely – and that was Not An isolated case – threatening The credibility of the listIt is an important mechanism to protect children and hold their abusers accountable.
Removal from the list appears to have encouraged the Tatmadaw to commit further violations. In the first half of 2020, the Tatmadaw employed 301 boys in support jobs such as camp maintenance and trenching. In October 2020, two boys were killed after they were allegedly used by the Tatmadaw unit as human shields, in an incident publicly announced by the United Nations. convicted.
As protests continue across Myanmar, armed conflict between the army and armed ethnic groups escalates. Children will face greater risks, so the Security Council must act urgently to stop the army in its tracks. Rather, the board appears Extreme pressure To reach consensus due to the opposition of China and Russia to strong measures such as the arms embargo.
Delisting the Tatmadaw from the list in 2020 was inexplicable and unjustified given the behavior of the military. Now Secretary-General Guterres has a chance to put things right. In a few weeks, he will release his 2021 report and the list of culprits.
He should put the Tatmadaw back on the list for their recruiting and use of children. In light of the army’s total disregard for children’s rights, this is a concrete measure it must take to hold the Tatmadaw accountable for its crimes against children.
Yangyi Lee Professor in the Department of Child Psychology and Education at Songgyunkwan University in Seoul. She is the former Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service