75 children killed, 1,000 detained since Myanmar coup: UN experts | Coronavirus pandemic news


Dozens of children have been killed and hundreds arbitrarily detained in Myanmar since a coup more than five months ago, According to UN rights experts, as the country’s political turmoil continues amid a health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Children’s Rights Committee reported on Friday that it had received “credible information” that 75 children had died and about 1,000 had been detained in Myanmar since 1 February.

“Children in Myanmar are being harassed and suffering a catastrophic loss of life due to the military coup,” committee chairman Mikiko Otani said in a statement.

Myanmar residents have taken part in mass protests, but have received a brutal military response since the coup that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Children are exposed to indiscriminate violence, random shootings and arbitrary arrests every day,” Otani said.

“They have guns pointed at them and they see the same thing happening to their parents and siblings.”

The committee consists of 18 independent experts responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Myanmar signed in 1991.

Experts said they “strongly condemned the murder of children by the board and the police “, noting that” some victims died at home “.

They include a six-year-old girl in the city of Mandalay, shot in the stomach by police, according to the statement.

Children as “hostages”

Experts also criticized the widespread arbitrary detention of children in police stations, prisons and military detention centers.

They noted that military authorities reported the practice of taking children hostage when they cannot arrest their parents, including a five-year-old girl in the Mandalay region, whose father helped organize anti-military protests.

On Friday, the news website Myanmar Now also reported that two minors, aged 12 and 15, were part of seven villagers in Sintgaing municipality, Mandalay region, who were arrested and charged with possession of explosives.

Experts also expressed deep concern over the considerable disruptions in essential medical care and school education across the country.

Access to food and drinking water for children in rural areas had also been disrupted, they said.

They noted that the UN rights office had received credible reports that security forces were occupying hospitals, schools and religious institutions in the country, which were subsequently damaged in military actions.

Highlights from the UNICEF children’s agency, which indicated that one million children in Myanmar were missing key vaccines, while more than 40,000 children were no longer receiving the treatment they needed for severe acute malnutrition. .

“If this crisis continues, an entire generation of children are at risk of suffering profound physical, psychological, emotional, educational and economic consequences, depriving them of a healthy and productive future,” Otani warned.

As of Friday, the human rights monitor The Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP) in Myanmar reported that since the February coup, at least 912 people have died, 6,770 have been detained and 5,277 are currently detained. or sentenced while 1963 are wanted by security forces.

COVID-19 wave

Meanwhile, Myanmar media reports that Win Htein, a revered senior leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been charged by the military government with sedition, with a maximum sentence of 20 years of prison.

The 79-year-old leader, who has been detained in the capital, Naypyidaw, since February, pleaded not guilty to the charge, his lawyer said on the Myanmar Now news website.

Repression takes place in the context of an emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic this has shattered the country’s health care system.

According to reports, in the country’s largest city, Yangon, hospitals have run out of oxygen supply and people have only tried to save their family members from succumbing to the disease. There have also been reports of coffin exhaustion due to increased deaths from COVID-19.

More than 200,000 people have reportedly been infected with COVID-19 in the country, with more than 4,300 dead, although medical experts say the actual figures could be much higher.

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