Shocking toll on children must be incited to action, says UN rights expert – Global Issues

Three months since his last update to the UN rights forum in Geneva, Thomas Andrews, special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, said he had met young people who had fled the country after suffering “irreparable damage”.

Empty seat

Myanmar – whose seat was empty on the Council – “has reached several grim milestones since March”he continued: “More than 2,500 civilians have now been killed in the junta’s bloody campaign against its opponents; more than a million people are now internally displaced.”

The number of arbitrarily detained political prisoners now exceeds 11,000, Mr Andrews said, before warning that the junta “has announced that executions of political prisoners placed on death row will begin shortly”.

Amid widespread public opposition to Myanmar’s de facto rulers, the independent rights expert described how the military had “trained its weapons on a growing number of villagers and other non-combatants” and “accelerated a brutal campaign of arson and murder in the northwest.” .

Children killed and maimed

The task of reporting on such abuses has been complicated by the shutdown of the internet, which is “obviously the intent and purpose of the military,” said Mr Andrews, before detailing the abuses perpetrated against young people who connections with opposition fighters were suspected.

“At least 382 children have been killed or maimed; more than 1,400 children have been arbitrarily detained… 142 children have been tortured since the coup.”

He added: “This children have been beaten, cut and stabbed† they have been burned with cigarettes; their fingernails and teeth are pulled out; they are forced to take stress positions; they are subject to mock executions; they have been sexually abused.”

indictment of war crimes

Such crimes and “repeated attacks on civilians” were war crimes and crimes against humanity, stressed the special rapporteur, an independent and unpaid rights expert appointed for three years by the Human Rights Council in accordance with special procedures.

If action is not taken quickly, it risks an even worse humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, where aid delivery will be severely hampered as the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Myanmar by 2022 is only funded at 10.5%. “This meant that life-saving programs had to be suspendedexplained Mr Andrews.


This year alone, “33,000 children could die from preventable deaths just because they missed routine vaccinations,” the special rapporteur added. “Five million children are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Experts warn of a looming food crisis and the possibility of a dramatic increase in childhood malnutrition and dwarfism.

Physical and sexual abuse, child trafficking and child labor are all on the rise† Girls are particularly vulnerable to forced marriage and sexual exploitation.”

When will the Security Council act?

After insisting that the international community’s approach to Myanmar is “not working”, Mr Andrews urged the Security Council to take action.

“The people of Myanmar continue to wait for the Security Council to even consider a resolution on Myanmar,” he said. “Some members have failed to impose sanctions on the junta, even though they have done so in response to other crises. Member States that have adopted sanctions have too often failed to coordinate these sanctions strategically. Many have failed to focus on the junta’s biggest sources of income and their ability to move funds. ASEAN’s five-point consensus has yielded no tangible results.”

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