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August 11, 2020

The culture of impunity must end

Removing our country from the list of nations that use and recruit child soldiers by the UN has brought encouragement to our country to accelerate our commitment to preventing and ending the grave violence against children in armed conflicts. We formed a committee in 2019 to prevent six grave violations against children in conflicted areas in Myanmar and it reflects our commitment to ending and preventing six grave violations against children in conflicted areas of Myanmar, which has witnessed armed conflicts for over 70 years, and still, the guns are not silenced. Besides, our country ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC). Regional military commands and security forces are obliged, in accordance with set rules and directives, to monitor armed conflicts and enforce the rules to ensure there are no incidents involving children during armed conflicts. The committee is tasked with taking immediate measures to respond to information on actions which deviate from civilian and military law and order, and to take action following violations against children during armed conflicts.
Also, the government will take actions following violations against children during armed conflicts, as determined by the Independent Commission of Enquiry-ICOE formed by the Office of the President. There are some reports on violations against children in armed conflict areas. Hence, all warring parties in Myanmar have a duty to protect children from six violations under international law — killing and maiming of children, recruitment or use of children as soldiers, sexual violence against children, abduction, attacks against schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access to children. As the child rights law has been enacted, and our children, the future of our country, need to enjoy their rights, including security, development, and protections guaranteed by the Child Rights Law. It is not just our moral obligation to make sure children are safe and secure, but a legal one, too. Steps are being taken by the Union Government for providing medical care and rehabilitation to the victims with psychological support and for better protecting our children. Meanwhile, the committee should effectively cooperate with the UN agencies including UNICEF, UNDP and CTFMR to accelerate its efforts. Please remember that the value of human society depends upon how it protects its children. The culture of impunity must end in our country.

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