Three months since his last update to the UN rights forum in Geneva, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Thomas Andrews, said that he’d met youngsters who’d fled the country after suffering “irreparable harm”.
Myanmar’s military junta is responsible for shocking violence against children caught up in the bloody aftermath of last February’s coup, a top independent Human Rights Council-appointed investigator said on Wednesday.
Myanmar – whose seat was empty in the UN Security Council – “passed several grim milestones since March”, he continued: “more than 2,500 civilians have now been killed in the junta’s bloody campaign against its opponents; over one million people are now internally displaced.”
The number of arbitrarily detained political prisoners now exceeds 11,000, Mr Andrews said, before warning that the junta “has announced that executions will soon begin of political prisoners who have been put on death row”.
Amid widespread public opposition to Myanmar’s de facto rulers, the independent rights expert described how the military had “trained its guns on growing numbers of villagers and other non-combatants” and “accelerated a brutal campaign of arson and murder in the northwest.
The task of reporting on such abuses has been complicated by internet shutdowns which “which, of course, is the intention, the very intention, of the military”, Mr Andrews said, before describing in detail the abuse meted out to youngsters suspected of having links to opposition fighters.
“At least 382 children have been killed or maimed; more than 1,400 children have been arbitrarily detained…142 children have been tortured since the coup.”
He added: “These children have been beaten, cut and stabbed; they have been burned with cigarettes; they have had their fingernails and teeth pulled out; they have been forced to hold stress positions; they have been subjected to mock executions; they have been sexually assaulted.”
After insisting that the international community’s approach to Myanmar “is not working”, Mr Andrews urged the Security Council to take action.
“The people of Myanmar continue to wait for the Security Council to even consider a resolution about Myanmar,” he said. “Some Members have failed to impose sanctions on the junta, even when they have done so in response to other crises. Member States who have adopted sanctions have too often failed to strategically coordinate these sanctions. Many have failed to target the junta’s largest sources of revenue and their ability to move funds. ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus has failed to generate any tangible outcomes.”