Myanmar’s military has killed 43 children in just two months since the Coup on 1st February, Save the Children states. The death toll of children has more than doubled in the past 12 days, demonstrating Myanmar military’s ‘utter disrespect for the lives of children’, says the organization.
The youngest victim of the Myanmar military junta was a six-year-old girl, Save the Children states. Among those killed were 15 children under the age of 16, including children aged 9 and 11, the group added. They further stated that a 13 – year – old boy was shot in the head as he tried to flee the army, while a 14 – year – old boy was shot in the head while inside or outside his home.
The Save the Children group says the number of children physically injured in the aftermath of the military coup is unknown, but remains significant, with rubber bullets being fired into the eyes of a one – year – old child among the injured. Save the Children says the fear, stress and grief caused by the ongoing violence are having a devastating effect on the mental health of millions of children in Myanmar.
The organisation also shows that a reported bombing of a school in Kayin State on March 29, during a series of airstrikes in the area that caused thousands of people to flee. Images show the school, reportedly empty at the time, completely destroyed by the attack, pressing that attacks against schools constitute a grave violation of children’s rights and cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Save the Children also said:
“We are shocked that children continue to be among the targets of these fatal attacks, despite repeated calls to protect children from harm. It is especially horrifying that several of these children were reportedly killed at home, where they should have been safe from harm.
“This is a nightmare scenario unfolding. Innocent children have had their futures brutally and needlessly snatched away from them. Grieving families – among them young children who have seen siblings die – are suffering unimaginable loss and pain. Children have witnessed violence and horror. It is clear that Myanmar is no longer a safe place for children.
We once again call on the armed forces to end these deadly attacks against protesters immediately. Time and time again we see that children are the innocent victims of any crisis. The only way to protect children in Myanmar is to stop all lethal violence immediately.”
Save the Children and its partners are providing support to children who have been harmed and their families, providing front line emotional support to children who have witnessed violence, and referring children with severe mental health needs to specialists. Due to insecurity and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, a lot of this work is being done remotely, and many children are still not able to receive the support they so desperately need.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the death toll is 543 upto date. The AAPP says that although these are only recorded information, and confirmed by the organization, the actual death count could be significantly high as the death toll continues to rise.
As of April 1, 2741 people had been detained in connection with the coup,38 had been jailed and arrest warrants have been issued for another 126 people, the AAPP states.
“It has been two months since the military coup and all the persecution perpetrated by this terrorist armed group. Despite the increasing number of murders, injuries and arrests, the people are still fighting to end the dictatorship and achieve democracy,” the organization states.
After gaining independence from the British Empire in 1948, under the Burmese Independence Army as a democratic nation, a constitutional government was established and U Nu was nominated as the Prime Minister of Independent Myanmar.
The civilian government under U Nu failed to maintain the unity within the country, amid ethnic issues, corruption and several other difficulties. In 1958, a split within the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL), threatened to provoke a coup from military officers and therefore U Nu had to invite the military to form a caretaker government under General Ne Win and it continued until 1960.
The civilian government formed by U Nu after the election in 1960, could not resolve the prevailing issues which ultimately led to the coup on 2nd March 1962, under General Ne Win. This led to end the democratic ruling in Myanmar, commencing a direct military reign under General Ne Win.
A series of protests cracked out in Myanmar Myanmar in 1988 over the corruption of military personnel, police brutality, military dictatorship and many other serious issues. It was also known as the ‘8888 uprising ‘. This is because the main events of the protest took place on August 8, 1988.
In 2011, the military took steps to relinquish power to a semi-civilian government under former General Thein Sein. Many fundamental rights were restored, including the removal of restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression that had previously been banned.