Expressing concern for the safety of children in the northern part of Myanmar’s Rakhine state which is in the midst of “security operations,” the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called upon the Government to protect children there from all forms of violence and to support prompt and independent investigations into reports of grave violations against them.
“Worsening inter-communal conflict in Rakhine state […] is taking a terrible toll on children – especially those living in the northern part of the state, where thousands of children have been cut off from humanitarian assistance in recent weeks,” said UNICEF in a statement late yesterday.
“These children already suffer from high levels of deprivation and malnutrition. Their futures depend on help from doctors, nurses, teachers and others who can provide them with nutrition, health and education services,” it added.
Noting that though some relief has been delivered in recent days, UNICEF called for “full resumption” of essential services as well as the urgent lifting of all restrictions of movement of health and other professionals so they can safely reach children and families.
In late October, in her briefing to the Third Committee of the General Assembly – the main GA committee on social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee had voiced concern over the situation in Rakhine state, including the killing of nine police officers (earlier in the month) and the resulting security operations, which she said led to multiple allegations of serious human rights violations, including torture and ill-treatment during interrogations, summary executions, arbitrary arrest and the destruction of mosques and houses in Muslim villages.
Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.