Children continue to suffer from ongoing conflicts and inter-communal violence in Myanmar. An estimated 500,000 children in conflict and emergency situations – 50 per cent of them girls – are in need of continued child protection services or are at risk of child rights violations.
Children in conflict and emergency situations are particularly vulnerable to serious abuses of their rights.
Neglect, physical abuse, family separation, exploitation and unsafe migration practices are among the many ways in which children living in conflict and emergency situations can become vulnerable. Girls may be exposed to harassment, sexual violence and forced marriage. Boys are at higher risk of economic exploitation and forced recruitment to armed forces or groups.
The combined risks – which many children experience while living in poverty or in dire conditions in camps for the internally displaced – can severely undermine their psychosocial and physical well-being, giving rise to harmful coping strategies.
Since 2007, the United Nations’ Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on the six Grave Violations against Children under UN Security Council Resolution 1612 has been operating in Myanmar. The violations under scrutiny are: 1) recruitment and use of children by armed forces/groups, 2) killing and maiming, 3) rape and other forms of sexual violence, 4) abduction, 5) attacks on schools and hospitals, and 6) denial of humanitarian access. In Myanmar, 8 parties to the conflict including the Tatmadaw, were listed under the annex of the UN Secretary General annual report on Children and Armed Conflict as perpetrators of recruitment and use of children. The Tatmadaw has been listed since 2003. In 2017, the Tatmadaw was also listed for two additional grave violations: killing and maiming of children; and rape and other forms of sexual violence.
Myanmar has one of the highest mine incident rates in the world, data shows. As a result of decades of conflict, landmines and other explosive remnants of war contaminate areas in at least nine states or regions. Reported cases of killing and maiming of children by mines and other explosive devices, mainly in Kachin and Shan States, are on the rise.