Responding to the latest escalation of violence in Myanmar, including harm done to children, Save the Children said:
“Reports that children have been injured by the military, including in Northern Shan, should be met with sadness, outrage but also urgent action to better protect children across Myanmar.
“We are particularly disturbed by the potential use of heavy weapons, which there have been signs of in recent weeks, which not only risk killing and injuring children, but can also destroy homes, civilian infrastructure like schools and hospitals and displace entire communities.
“This is in addition to the detention and abduction of children, which is also being reported. The children who have been killed, injured, displaced, and who have witnessed this violence are entitled to protection, but have instead become targets.
“This incident, like many others which have taken place over recent weeks and months, is evidence of a deepening crisis in Myanmar. Not only have Myanmar children had to contend with multiple waves of COVID-19 over the last 18 months, but violent incidents affecting large numbers of children have continued to rage across the country.
“The military coup and subsequent humanitarian crisis continue to fundamentally threaten children’s human rights. With the education and health systems failing, food security deteriorating and the economy in freefall, urgent steps are required to bring peace, stability and safety into Myanmar children’s lives – especially the most vulnerable and those who have been displaced.
“Ultimately, to prevent violations against children all those involved in clashes and violence must take proactive steps to respect and uphold children’s rights. This goes beyond avoiding civilian casualties, and includes measures to get children back into education, to provide unimpeded humanitarian access, and to support children with the mental health and psychosocial impact of this complex crisis. Myanmar children have shown incredible strength and resilience, but cannot be expected to keep carrying such a heavy load.
“As such, with our local partners, Save the Children is prioritising a response which focuses on reinstating as much learning as possible, provides food assistance to those who need it the most, and supports children with their mental and physical health and wellbeing. As we have done since 1995, we will continue to do our utmost for and with Myanmar children in compliance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, independence, impartiality and neutrality.”
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