17 September 2019 - Myanmar

Perpetrators of crimes against children in Myanmar must be held to account

This week the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ms Yanghee Lee, and investigators from the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission were unanimous in their condemnation of the mistreatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, saying they face the “threat of genocide.” Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, they called for accountability and for the world to take action. Every day children in Myanmar face grave violations against their rights, denied access to education or freedom of movement. An estimated 600,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, 128,000 of them are confined to camps in apartheid-like conditions. Other ethnic groups in Myanmar also report systematic persecution.
In response to the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar’s update in Geneva on Monday, and that of the Fact-Finding Mission today, Save the Children has issued the following statement.
Michael McGrath, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Director for Save the Children, said:
“Thousands of children in Myanmar’s Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan States are still awaiting justice for gross human rights violations and abuses perpetrated against them by the Myanmar military and other groups. No one has been held to account for heinous crimes against children in Myanmar and this impunity must stop.
“Discriminatory policies against Rohingya communities in Rakhine State continue to blight the lives of this persecuted minority. Tens of thousands of Rohingya children have been stuck in camps across Rakhine state for more than seven years, living in squalor, with severe restrictions on their movements and access to formal education. For many Rohingya children in Myanmar the only life they’ve ever known is within the confines of a camp in their own country. Rohingya refugees in neighboring Bangladesh say they’re scared and anxious at the prospect of repatriation to Myanmar where they continue to fear violence and persecution.
“UN Member States must ensure that perpetrators of these horrific crimes against children are held to account. It is critical that the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar prioritizes crimes against children, starting by hiring people with child-specific expertise to investigate them. These cases must then be heard in a court of law. The Government of Myanmar must end discrimination against the Rohingya population and improve conditions for conflict-affected children across the country.
“Rohingya rights abuses are part of a bigger picture of systematic military-backed state oppression in Myanmar, affecting several ethnic minority groups across the country and it is always children who pay the highest price. They deserve the care and protection to survive, learn and thrive, and a commitment from the Government of Myanmar and the international community to guarantee justice for crimes committed against them.”

We stand side by side with children in the world's toughest places.