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Stop ‘Widespread Violence’ Against Children In Myanmar, UN Officials Urge


Senior United Nations officials on Thursday
strongly condemned the ongoing violence by Myanmar’s
security forces against civilians, including children, as
the members of the Security Council expressed alarm at the
rapidly deteriorating situation in the
country.

Hundreds of civilians, including at
least 44 children (as of 31 March) have been killed in the
crackdown across the country, including a 7-year-old girl,
who was shot while in her home. Countless more have been
seriously injured, since the military
coup
on 1 February.

“We call on the Tatmadaw
[Myanmar’s military] to halt widespread violence against
children in any manifestation … the children deserve no
less”, Virginia Gamba, Special
Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and
Armed Conflict
, and Najat Maalla M’jid, Special
Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against
Children
, said in a joint
statement
on Thursday.

They also called on the
military to stop the detention of children as clearly stated
in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, amid reports
that over 900 children and young people have been arbitrary
detained.

While many have been released, others remain
held
without access to legal counsel
, according to the
statement.

‘Deep concern’ over long-term
effects

Ms. Gamba and Dr. M’jid also voiced deep
concern over the longer-term effects of the current crisis
in Myanmar on the physical and mental wellbeing of children
and their families.

“The longer the current
situation of widespread violence continuous, the more it
will contribute to a continuous state of distress and toxic
stress for children, which can have a lifelong impact on
their mental and physical health”, the statement
added.

The two Special Representatives also condemned
the military’s
use of education
and health facilities as well as
widespread attacks on schools and hospitals and their
personnel, which can deprive civilians from accessing
life-saving interventions.

There have been at least 35
incidents documented of arrests and violence against
teachers and health personnel, as well as 120 incidents of
use of education and health facilities by the
military.

Fully respect human rights: Security
Council

Members of the UN Security
Council
also voiced deep concern at the rapidly
deteriorating situation in the south-east Asian nation, and
strongly condemned the use of violence against peaceful
protestors and the deaths of hundreds of civilians,
including women and children.

According to the
representative of Viet Nam, Security Council President for
April, the members reiterated their call on the military to
exercise
utmost restraint
as well as the need to “fully respect
human rights” and “pursue dialogue and reconciliation in
accordance with the will and interests of the people of
Myanmar”.

They also urged all sides to refrain from
violence and called again for the immediate
release of all detainees
, including State Counsellor
Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

Council
members also noted the Secretary-General’s call on 27
March 2021 for a firm,
unified and resolute response
from the international
community, stressing that they continue “to monitor the
situation closely and would remain actively seized of the
matter”.

© Scoop Media

 



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