Burma

Myanmar Regime Denies Child Killings, Rejects UN Envoy’s Allegations

By The Irrawaddy 3 April 2021

Myanmar’s military regime has issued a blanket denial of abuses alleged by UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener at a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting, rejecting her allegations as “one-sided” and “not fair,” while denying it had killed children, among other atrocities.

The special envoy on Wednesday told a closed-door session of the 15-member council that the military, which seized power in Myanmar on Feb. 1, was not capable of managing the country, and warned that the situation on the ground would only worsen, according to wire services.

She warned that the country faces the possibility of civil war “at an unprecedented scale” and that “the whole country is on the verge of spiraling into a failed state”. Schraner Burgener urged the UNSC to consider “potentially significant action” to reverse the Feb. 1 military coup and restore democracy, as civilians, including children, are being slain in their homes and on the streets by the regime’s troops.

More than 500 people across Myanmar have been killed since the coup on Feb. 1. Save the Children said at least 43 children have been killed since the takeover.

In response to the UN envoy’s statement, Myanmar’s military regime claimed on state media on Friday evening that there was no evidence its forces had killed children, while denying all of Schraner Burgener’s allegations.

The regime attempted to justify its deadly crackdowns on protesters by saying the protests had turned into an “insurrection with arms” since the first week of March, and that it had taken steps to quell it “according to the laws.”

“She failed to point out the fact that the NLD [the National League for Democracy] and its sympathizers have turned the protests into armed violence and her one-sided accusations are not fair,” said the junta.

It insisted that there had been no shooting by security forces during raids on civilians’ homes.

“We don’t have any evidence of the deaths of children,” was its response to the UN envoy’s allegation.

However, news reports have documented many instances of children being shot while playing near or inside their homes as soldiers and police raided residential areas, shooting at random. Among the fatalities were a 5-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl.

The 6-year- old, Khin Myo Chit, ran into her father’s arms when soldiers and police kicked in the door and broke into her family home during a raid in their neighborhood in Chanmyathazi Township of Mandalay region on March 23.

The little girl cried, “Ah Pa, I’m scared!” as she sat frightened on her dad’s lap. Her sister said the junta’s troops told the girl, “This is not scared,” then shot her. Her father ran to seek medical treatment, but the child died on the way before she could reach a clinic.

Last Saturday at least 11 children were shot dead, including an 11-year-old girl who was shot in the head while playing in front of her home, a 13-year-old who was shot in the back of the head while trying to run away from armed regime forces and a 14-year-old girl who was hit after a bullet pierced a bamboo wall at her home.

Save the Children said 15 under-16s have been killed by the regime. It said the death toll of children has more than doubled in the last 12 days, “demonstrating the utter disrespect of the armed forces for the lives of children.”

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