UNICEF says inter-communal violence in Rakhine State must end for the sake of Myanmar’s children
YANGON – 8 October 2013 – UNICEF today called for an end to inter-communal violence in Rakhine State.
Violent inter-communal clashes broke out most recently on 29 September in the southern town of Thandwe, Rakhine State. Initial reports soon after suggested that the violence had been brought under control, but later reports state that violence recommenced on 1 October and subsequently spread to Tha Byu Chaing, Pauk Taw, Shwe Hlay and Me Kyun townships. Deaths have been reported, along with the destruction of some 110 homes.
These recent outbreaks of violence have caused a new wave of displacement of families. Many families and communities in Rakhine State have been displaced since the violence in 2012 and are still unable to return to their homes because of continuing risks to their security. The recent renewal of violence has caused additional family displacements and added to the fears of those displaced last year.
“When violence drives people from their homes, children who are displaced and those in the host communities suffer,” said Mr. Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative in Yangon. “Displacement puts children at greater risk of family separation and domestic violence, they miss out on schooling and too frequently they experience physical and emotional damage.”
UNICEF is also concerned that the polarization resulting from on-going inter-communal violence in Rhakine State - now in its second year - could stall or put at risk the many important reform processes currently underway in Myanmar, with negative repercussions for all of Myanmar’s children.
Welcoming recent calls for peace, stability and the rule of law and for the arrest of alleged perpetrators of violence, UNICEF called for all perpetrators of violations of the rights of children – particularly those who commit violent acts against children - to be held to account and brought to justice.
“In the name of Myanmar’s children, now is the time for this violence to end,” said Mr. Bainvel. “Hate messages and inflammatory propaganda just perpetuate the cycle of violence, and it is children who suffer. Peace-building and reconciliation activities must be prioritized if Myanmar’s children are to have the future they deserve, and to which they have a right” he concluded.
For more information please contact:
Kirsten Sjolander, Interim-in-Charge, Communication Section, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: +95 9 421 177 294 (m), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ye Lwin Oo, Communication Officer, Communication Section, UNICEF Myanmar, 09 511 3295 (m).