YANGON, 19 May 2021 – UNICEF is aware of media reports alleging that UNICEF-supplied soap bars and cloth masks have been used by local militias to recruit civilians in Kachin state. UNICEF is highly concerned about these reports of unauthorised use of UNICEF-provided supplies and is urgently investigating. UNICEF supplies, including soap bars and masks, are distributed for the express purpose of promoting the health and wellbeing of children and the use of these supplies for any other purpose is unacceptable.
UNICEF works with local and international NGO partners in Kachin State to distribute large volumes of critical supplies throughout Kachin State and across Myanmar, reaching hundreds of thousands of children and families across the country. UNICEF has strict protocols in place to ensure that supplies reach the intended beneficiaries and reports of misappropriation or misuse are rare. UNICEF is investigating the current reports and will take appropriate action in response.