Massacring Children of Myanmar

February 17th, 2024  •  Author:   Progressive Voice  •  8 minute read
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“The military junta continues its atrocities against the people of Myanmar even after the adoption of Resolution 2669 in December 2022. The UN Security Council so far cannot do anything to adhere to the resolution. Clearly, we need an enforceable resolution building on the Resolution 2669.”

U Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar Ambassador to the UN

The latest massacres of children in Karenni State bring flashbacks of a multitude of Myanmar military’s ruthlessness and its continued mass atrocity crimes. Taking place as part of the military junta’s countrywide terror campaign that has been systematically and intentionally targeting civilians, the appalling onslaughts of innocent lives of children, among many other vulnerable groups, have been at the forefront. Once again, statements of condemnation on the junta’s crimes from the international community fail to lead to any concrete changes, amid repeated demands from Myanmar people for meaningful and effective actions to end the junta’s tyranny and horrendous inhumanity.

On 5 February 2024, the Myanmar military junta committed one of its deadliest airstrikes in Demoso Township, Karenni State. It launched two airstrikes and six rounds of artillery shelling on two villages. The first round targeted Daw Si Ei School, killing four children and injuring 28 people, including teachers and children. The second attack directed at a school in Loi Nan Pa Village, killing an elderly man and injuring three teachers and five other civilians. Within one day of the massacres of these children, the junta took hostages and brutally killed eight displaced civilians, including three children, a pregnant woman, two women with disabilities, and two men, in Shadaw Township, Karenni State. Their dead bodies were found with torture marks and close-range gunshot wounds.

In the same week, in Htatabin Township, Bago Region, the junta launched airstrikes and artillery attacks that killed 10 civilians, including three children. Moving to the central part of the country, in Sagaing Region, the junta has killed at least six civilians in its attempt to retake Kawlin Town, which has been fully administered under the National Unity Government since November 2023. In Magwe Region, a junta-backed militia tortured and killed two young men after accusing them as members of resistance forces. The militia tied iron chains to their arms and legs, then hung them from a tree. In an effort to instill fear in the people, the militia then burned them alive, and forced villagers to watch. Such relentless, indiscriminate airstrikes and shelling which target civilians across the country are integral to the military junta’s daily, unprecedented terror campaign against the Myanmar people, in particular children.

On the same day as the deadly airstrike in Karenni State, the UN Security Council (UNSC) convened a closed-door meeting on Myanmar, and nine Member States issued a joint statement of condemnation – again – without concrete measures beyond referring to the toothless Resolution 2669. To make matters worse, the Head of the Myanmar Office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Sajjad Mohammad Sajid, met with the junta’s deputy prime minister, Than Swe, in Naypyitaw to discuss the so-called facilitation of humanitarian aid. The meeting took place just a day after the airstrikes on schools in Karenni State, but the junta’s constant aerial attacks, in particular on children, were ironically left out of the agenda. The UN clearly recognizes the severity of these indiscriminate airstrikes as, in Rakhine State, UN agencies have painted their office roofs to identify their buildings from the air, likely in the interest of protecting themselves from junta airstrikes. If only the UN would extend some protection measures to the innocent children being targeted by the junta.

The UN’s continued failure to recognize the junta as the root cause of these man-made human rights and humanitarian catastrophes, in addition to its countless misguided meetings with junta representatives lending them false legitimacy, only further highlight the moral corruption and ineffectiveness of the UN’s approach and diplomacy in Myanmar. Myanmar’s civil society organizations have been calling on the UN, in particular the UNSC, to swiftly take concrete actions against the junta, fulfilling its mandate for peace and security. Echoing the call of Myanmar Ambassador to the UN, U Kyaw Moe Tun, “The military junta continues its atrocities against the people of Myanmar even after the adoption of Resolution 2669 in December 2022. The UN Security Council so far cannot do anything to adhere to the resolution. Clearly, we need an enforceable resolution building on the Resolution 2669.”

Commercial and geopolitical interests must not surpass the lives of Myanmar’s people who are at daily risk of junta’s arrests, torture, airstrikes, and bombardments. The absence of concrete actions from the international community, particularly the UN, only signifies its recklessness and incompetence, as well as a lack of moral compass. The empty promises with hollow action – all the while shaking the junta’s blood-stained hands over and over again – are enough.

It is time for the international community, in particular the UNSC, to take concrete and meaningful actions to put an end to the junta’s atrocities and hold perpetrators to account, as Myanmar people’s resistance movement accelerates the collapse of this murderous junta. It is unacceptable that the UNSC is neglecting all of its responsibility in the case of Myanmar, while it has proven to implement other resolutions, such as Resolutions 1261, 1314, and 1379 on the protection of children in armed conflict. The UNSC must immediately adopt a new resolution that includes a comprehensive global arms embargo, targeted economic and aviation fuel sanctions, and the referral of the Myanmar crisis to the International Criminal Court. The world must not continue to let the lives of children in Myanmar be lost at the hands of the murderous junta. As a teacher from Karenni stated, “It is such a serious crime to deliberately shoot innocent children…I demand to take effective action for justice. They are the innocent children.”


[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term ‘Myanmar’ in acknowledgement that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of ‘Myanmar’ rather than ‘Burma’ without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten. Thus, under certain circumstances, ‘Burma’ is used.

Resources from the past week


Statements and Press Releases

Myanmar: Military air strikes that killed 17 civilians ‘must be investigated as war crimes’

By Amnesty International

Bangladesh: Investigate Fleeing Myanmar Junta-Forces, Coordinate with International Criminal Court

By Fortify Rights

Myanmar: Rohingya at Risk in Rakhine Fighting

By Human Rights Watch

International sanctions since the Myanmar military’s illegal attempted coup

By Justice For Myanmar

Statement of condemnation of the air strikes and shelling against the civilian population in Deemaw Soe, Karenni State

By Karen Human Rights Group

The Karenni Human Rights Group Condemns Airstrikes in Deemaw Soe Township, Karenni State

By Karenni Human Rights Group

Statement on targeted attacks of military SAC against civilians

By Karenni State Interim Executive Council

Statement on the arrest and killing of civilians, by the military junta, in Shadaw Township, Karenni State

By Karenni State Interim Executive Council

Statement Urging Political Parties to Avoid Being Used as Informants of Terrorist Junta

By National Unity Consultative Council and National Unity Government

Statement On Death of School Children by Terrorist Military Council’s Attack of Schools in Demoso

By National Unity Government of Myanmar

Announcement of the Permanent Abolishment of the Myanmar Oversea Employment Agency Association -MOEAA

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Labour)

Toothless UN Security Council Response to Myanmar Junta Violence Not Enough

By Special Advisory Council for Myanmar

We Strongly Condemn the Ongoing Violence Harming Civilians in Myanmar: Joint Statement at the UN Security Council

By United Kingdom, Ecuador, France, Japan, Malta, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United States



Economic collapse: Results of the junta’s violence, greed & incompetence


မြန်မာစစ်တပ်၏ ဝါဒဖြန့်ချိမှုများ – လေ့လာမှုစာစဥ် အမှတ် (၇)

By Burma Civil War Museum

စစ်ကောင်စီ၏ လေကြောင်းအသုံးပြုတိုက်ခိုက်မှုများ လေ့လာမှုအစီရင်ခံစာ (၃)

By Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica

Aerial Attacks Carried Out by the Military Council (3)

By Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica

Progressive Voice is a participatory, rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 transitioning to a rights-based policy research and advocacy organization called Progressive Voice. For further information, please see our press release “Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice.”