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Myanmar, Republic of the Union of

Lives on Hold: Making sure no child is left behind in Myanmar

© UNICEF Video
Brave Zu Zu Mi, 10, fled her village after fighting broke out. On her terrifying journey, she protected her siblings as they walked for three days before reaching a camp. Her hope is to become a teacher one day, but access to formal education for displaced children in camps is limited.


An unprecedented period of change and opportunity is under way in Myanmar. But too many children have yet to feel the benefits.

Ending the long-running conflicts and intercommunal violence that have plagued the country for decades – and tackling the issues of self-governance, resource-sharing and ethnic identity that have perpetuated them – is a key stated ambition of the Government of the National League for Democracy that took office just over a year ago.

Political, social and economic reforms initiated in 2010 are starting to impact on the lives of the children. Social sector reforms are beginning to translate into critical investments in the systems that boost children’s health, education and protection, but for many life remains a struggle.

Myanmar fast facts




For an estimated 2.2 million children, the promise of peace remains unfulfilled, leaving their hopes for a better future blighted by poverty, lack of opportunity and the ever-present fear of violence.

In Rakhine State, 120,000 internally displaced people – including many ethnic Rohingyas – live in camps as a result of inter-communal conflict that erupted in 2012. Violence surged again in 2016 following attacks on border guard posts.
In remote Kachin, Shan and Kayin States and other border areas, recurrent clashes between the Myanmar military and Ethnic Armed Organisations continue to drive families from their homes. Civilians find themselves at risk from poverty, statelessness, and trafficking, while having only limited access to essential health and education services.

Risks facing children in Myanmar


Attacks on schools

Armed conflict


Hidden dangers

Lives on hold


To improve the lives of children, UNICEF calls for:

  • Renewed efforts to achieve peace and social cohesion in Myanmar so that children can be provided with uninterrupted access to quality basic services and opportunities in life.
  • Intensified efforts to protect children from violence and abuse. The protection of children affected by armed conflict is a legal and moral obligation for governments and ethnic armed organizations alike.
  • Strengthened investments in basic services that benefit the health, education and futures of all children.



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