Myanmar: Renewed Engagement to End and Prevent Violations Against Children Affected by Armed Conflict
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, completed a five-day mission to Myanmar where she engaged with national authorities, civil society, Ethnic Armed Organizations representatives, the Diplomatic Corps and the Country Taskforce on Monitoring and Reporting on Children and Armed Conflict (CTFMR on CAAC) in Myanmar.
New York, 20 January 2020 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, completed a five-day mission to Myanmar where she engaged with national authorities, civil society, Ethnic Armed Organizations representatives, the Diplomatic Corps and the Country Taskforce on Monitoring and Reporting on Children and Armed Conflict (CTFMR on CAAC) in Myanmar.
“Children in Myanmar have suffered tremendously from the impact of hostilities, especially in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin States; it is crucial for all parties, including the Tatmadaw and other Government security forces, to continue their engagement with the United Nations to end and prevent violations against children,” said the Special Representative.
During this visit to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, the second since 2018, the Special Representative met with senior government officials including the State Counsellor and Foreign Minister, Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the Ministers of Defense, of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, of Labor and Immigration and Population, and with the Union Attorney General. She also had constructive discussions with the Chairs of the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee.
“The Government Forces have made significant progress in the implementation of their joint Action Plan signed in 2012 with the United Nations on the recruitment of children; the Action Plan must now be expedited and finalized. I also urge the Tatmadaw Army to continue its engagement with the United Nations to develop measures to better protect children and to commit to a joint action plan on killing and maiming and sexual violence, violations for which they remain listed,” she added.
She welcomed the important milestones reached by the Government to end and prevent violations against children, including the recent enactment of the Child Rights Act criminalizing the six grave violations against children, the development of a national prevention plan and the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC). She further encouraged the authorities to commit to the full implementation of the Child Rights Law, offering UN support in this regard. She also recommended that the Government consider signing the Safe Schools Declaration and joining the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines.
Additionally, in Yangon, the Special Representative met with representatives from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Karen National Liberation Army and Karen National Liberation Army-Peace Council. She welcomed their willingness to increase their engagement with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children and urged them to complete and sign respective action plans to end child recruitment and use.
The Special Representative welcomed the willingness of all parties to take strong steps to increase the protection of children from violations and expressed her appreciation to the Government authorities for enabling meetings with parties to the conflict in Myanmar.
In all her engagements, the Special Representative expressed the importance of placing children at the center of the peace process and highlighted the need for all parties of the current peace dialogue to take good note of existing best practices on the inclusion of CAAC language in peace agreements. She also invited Myanmar to be part of the Global Coalition for Reintegration, co-led by her Office and UNICEF.
She expressed deep concern over the increased intensity of conflict in Rakhine State, and in particular as they impact the children. Further, she called on the authorities in Myanmar to ensure humanitarian access for UN and non-governmental organizations to conflict-affected areas to adequately meet the needs of all affected children. In particular, she expressed her concern for displaced populations urging relevant authorities to provide access to these communities through simplified travel authorizations.
The Special Representative also met with the Diplomatic Corps in Myanmar and had several meetings with the UNCT and CTFMR on CAAC. She commended the work of the United Nations and International Non-Governmental Organizations’ members of the CTFMR in Myanmar.
Note to editors:
UN Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011) and 2225 (2015) on Children and Armed Conflict established measures and tools to end grave violations against children, through the creation of a monitoring and reporting mechanism, and the development of Action Plans to end violations by parties listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict. UN Security Council resolution 2427 (2018) gives the Secretary-General’s Special Representative a mandate to work with any party to a conflict (not only a listed party) on measures to prevent the occurrence of the 6 grave violations.
In Myanmar, eight parties to conflict are listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General Annual Report for the recruitment and use of children. The Tatmadaw national army is engaged in an Action Plan with the UN to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children, but the United Nations stands ready to engage with other listed parties.
Parties listed in the Annexes of the 2019 Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed conflict
- Tatmadaw Army, including integrated border guard forces (Recruitment and use of children; killing and maiming of children; rape and other forms of sexual violence against children)
- Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (Recruitment and use of children)
- Kachin Independence Army (Recruitment and use of children)
- Karenni Army (Recruitment and use of children)
- Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council (Recruitment and use of children)
- Shan State Army-South (Recruitment and use of children)
- Karen National Liberation Army (Recruitment and use of children)
- United Wa State Army (Recruitment and use of children)