Myanmar: children and adults killed by artillery fire in Rakhine state

Residents flee Nyaung Khet Kan village after it is struck with artillery shells on the morning of 8 September Credit: Residents flee Nyaung Khet Kan village after it is struck with artillery shells on the morning of 8 September Credit: Myanmar Now

13 September 2020

Save the Children deplores the “senseless deaths” and wounding, as the UN continues to urge a ceasefire and humanitarian access to the state

 Myanmar’s complex, ongoing, internal conflict continues to penalise the most vulnerable, prompting Save the Children (STC) to consider it part of a global “War on Children.” Two small children, reportedly between five and seven years old, and at least two adults, were among the fatalities in what witnesses identified as a Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) artillery attack, in Rakhine state. Eight civilians were wounded in the incident, which STC spokesperson Bhanu Bhatnagar calls a probable war crime by the Tatmadaw. The rebel Arakan Army, which opposes the Myanmar regime, is not reported to be currently active in the area.

Artillery shells fell on Nyaung Khet Kan village on Tuesday 8 September, the same day that the UN reaffirmed its concern for the humanitarian impact of the conflict and repeated the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global COVID ceasefire. Myanmar is called to honour the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Myanmar itself, which states that “Governments must do everything they can to protect and care for children affected by war and armed conflicts.” The latest incident also came alongside widely reported confessions of systemic genocide by Myanmar soldiers. General Zaw Min Htun, of the Tatmadaw’s press team, apparently failed to answer calls for comment. 

The number of civilian fatalities since December 2018, in Rakhine and Chin states alone, stands at 289, according to Radio Free Asia, with 641 injured. Many children are among these victims. The exact number of casualties is likely to be higher due to limited monitoring and reporting in conflict areas. Save the Children strongly renews its pledge to continue working to ensure that perpetrators of war crimes against children are held accountable for their actions. STC leads calls for effective criminal investigations for the prevention and deterrence of future child loss of life.


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Author: Edward Jarvis

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