UN: MYANMAR FREES 75 CHILDREN FROM MILITARY

UNITED NATIONS, The United Nations (UN) on Friday welcomed the release of 75 children from Tatmadaw, the Myanmar armed forces, and called for the release of the remaining children in the military, Xinhua news agency reported.

Stehane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Virginia Gamba, the UN chief’s special representative for children in armed conflict, welcomed the release and called for the rest of the children to be freed from Tatmadaw ranks.

“She called it an important step in the protection of children in the country,” Dujarric told reporters here at the UN headquarters during a regular briefing.

“She is encouraged by the positive step taken by the government following her visit to Myanmar in May.

“She strongly advocated for the release of all children as well as access to Rakhine, Shan and Kahn states and adoption of children rights law…and for continued collaboration with the United Nations,” said the spokesman.

The UN says it does not have the number of children still in Tatmadaw, nor for that matter worldwide. Nevertheless, Gamba told reporters here in June more than 21,000 “grave violations of children’s rights” were verified to have occurred in 2017, up from 15,500 the previous year.

Globally, more than 10,000 children were killed last year, she said, adding that in 2017, a total of 849 children were released from the Myanmar military since 2012.

Northern Rakhine State, in Myanmar’s northwest, has been racked by attacks from government military and civilian militias, sending more than 700,000 ethnic Muslim Rohingya fleeing into the Cox’s Bazar District in neighbouring Bangladesh’s southernmost region, the UN Refugee Agency said.

They joined an excess of 200,000 Rohingya who earlier were routed from Rakhine, the agency said.

The refugees reported killing, raping and the torching of villages in response to an Aug 25, 2017 deadly Rohingya rebel attack on Myanmar security posts.

The UN has been seeking unrestricted access to Rakhine to assess damage and interview remaining residents.

Source: NAM News Network