Last Saturday, the body of a 13-year-old boy was discovered in Matupi, Chin state, while a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy were injured by heavy weapons in Loikaw, in. Kayah State, following heavy airstrikes. and mortar attacks.
On the same day, a 7-year-old girl was injured by heavy weapons fire in Hpa An, Kayin State.
UNICEF condemns the murder of at least four children, and the mutilation of several more, as conflict escalates in Myanmar over the past week. Full declaration: https://t.co/jdQ1C442VJ
– UNICEF Myanmar (@UNICEFMyanmar) January 11, 2022
On January 7, a 14-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys were shot dead in Dawei commune, Tanintharyi region. And on January 5, two girls aged 1 and 4 were injured by artillery fire in Namkham, Shan state.
International humanitarian law
In a statement, UNICEF Regional Director Debora Comini said the agency was “gravely concerned” at the escalation of the conflict and condemns the reported use of airstrikes and heavy weapons in civilian areas .
UNICEF is also particularly outraged by the attacks on children that have taken place across the country.
“Parties to the conflict must regard the protection of children as a top priority and must take all necessary measures to ensure that children are kept out of the fighting and that communities are not targeted,” said Ms. Comini.
According to her, this protection is required by international humanitarian law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Myanmar is a signatory.
Recalling other recent incidents, UNICEF called for urgent action to ensure independent investigations so that those responsible can be held accountable.
Overall, the people of Myanmar face an unprecedented political, socio-economic, humanitarian and human rights crisis, with a dramatic escalation in needs since the military takeover and a severe third wave of COVID-19 .
According to an overview of United Nations humanitarian needs released in December by OCHA, unrest is expected to have plunged nearly half of the population into poverty by 2022, wiping out impressive gains since 2005.
The situation has worsened since the start of the year, when the military took control of the country, toppling the democratically elected government. It is now estimated that14 of the 15 states and regions are at the critical threshold for acute malnutrition.
For next year, the analysis predicts that 14.4 million people will need some form of help, or about a quarter of the population. The number includes 6.9 million men, 7.5 million women and five million children.