No One's Talking About Grave Violation Of Rights As Children Are Killed For Army Ops In Myanmar

On 5 October, two boys were killed in Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State, in crossfire between Myanmar’s military Tatmadaw and the separatist Arakan Army. 

Children used as "human shields"

This occurred after the children, as part of a group of 15 local farmers, were alleged to all have been forced to walk in front of a Tatmadaw unit to ensure the path towards a military camp was clear of landmines and to protect the soldiers from potential enemy fire.   

myanmar-kids-rights-violation AFP

On the way, fighting broke out between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army, after which the two boys were found dead with gunshot wounds.   

In a statement, the co-chairs of the UN Country Taskforce on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) said, "The use of children for non-combat purposes by armed forces should not be considered as a separate and lesser violation than the formal recruitment of children, and is criminalized in the Myanmar Child Rights Law. This egregious incident serves as a stark reminder that children are put at risk of being killed or injured whenever they are associated with armed forces."

"We are also deeply concerned about the alarming increase of reports of killings and injuries of children in Myanmar. More than 100 children were killed or maimed in conflict during the first three months of 2020, amounting to more than half of the total number in 2019, and significantly surpassing the total number of child casualties in 2018."

Myanmar children rights violation AFP

The incident occurred within the 12 months of the delisting of the Tatmadaw for underage recruitment in the UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) of 2020, agencies noted.

What are grave violations as per CTFMR?

In its statement, the CTFMR called for a "full, transparent, and expedited investigation of the incident" and for anyone responsible for the use and killing of the children to be held accountable.

Myanmar military AFP

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1612 mandates the UN to establish UN-led CTFMRs in countries where there is verified evidence that grave violations against children are being committed by parties to a conflict, either by armed forces and/or by armed groups. The CTFMR establishes documents, verifies and reports to the UNSC on grave violations against children.  The six grave violations that are monitored and reported are:

  • Killing or maiming of children
  • Recruitment and use of children in armed forces, groups
  • Attacks against schools or hospitals 
  • Rape or other sexual violence 
  • Abduction of children 
  • Denial of humanitarian access for children


As per Child Soldiers Global Report 2001, Myanmar is estimated to have one of the largest numbers of child soldiers of any country in the world, with up to 50,000 children serving in both government armed forces and armed opposition groups.  

myanmar children rights violation AFP

Children have been recruited, voluntarily and forcibly, by governmental armed forces and armed opposition groups alike. Some, including those under 15, are attracted by the prestige or financial reward of a military career or hoping to protect their family from harassment by the military government of Myanmar, but many others are forced to join.




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