75 children killed, 1,000 arrested since Myanmar coup: UN experts | News of coronavirus pandemic

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

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said on Friday it had received “credible information” that 75 children had been killed and about 1,000 arrested in Myanmar since 1 February.

“Children in Myanmar are under siege and facing 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 been greeted with a brutal military response since the coup overthrew civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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

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

The committee is composed of 18 independent experts tasked with monitoring 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 police and police, “noting that” some victims were killed at his home. “

They include a six-year-old girl in the town of Mandalay, shot in the stomach by police, the statement said.

Children as “hostages”

Experts have also hit widespread use of arbitrary detention of children in police stations, prisons and military detention centers.

They have reported to military authorities that they have reported the practice of taking children hostage when they are unable to arrest their parents, including a five-year-old girl in the Mandalay region whose father helped organize anti-protest protests. -military.

On Friday, the news site Myanmar Now also said that two minors, aged 12 and 15, were among seven residents of Sintgaing village in the Mandalay region, who had been detained and accused of possessing explosives.

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

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

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

UNICEF numbers for UN children have been highlighted, indicating that one million children in Myanmar lack key vaccines, while more than 40,000 children no longer receive the treatment they need for severe acute malnutrition. .

“If this crisis continues, a whole generation of children is in danger of suffering profound physical, psychological, emotional, educational and economic consequences, depriving them of a healthy and productive future,” Otani warned.

On Friday, the human rights monitor The Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP) in Myanmar said that since the February coup, at least 912 people have been killed, 6,770 arrested and 5,277 currently detained or convicted while 1,963 are wanted by security forces.

COVID-19 arises

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

The 79-year-old leader, who has been detained in the capital, Naypyidaw, since February, has pleaded guilty to the charge, his lawyer was quoted as saying by the news site Myanmar Now.

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

In the largest city in Yangon country, hospitals have been short of oxygen supplies and people have been trying to save their family members from succumbing to the disease. There have also been reports of caskets being sold due to the rise in COVID-19 deaths.

According to reports, more than 200,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in the country, with more than 4,300 deaths, although medical experts say the actual numbers could be much higher.

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