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International organizations decry children’s rights abuses in Burma; Number of IDPs surpasses 3 million

International organizations decry children’s rights abuses in Burma

The International Labour Organization (ILO) called on Burma to urgently “fulfill their commitments and take decisive action to end child labour” on the World Day Against Child Labour June 12. It highlighted that child labor has increased since the 2021 military coup and has worsened since the regime activated its military conscription law on Feb. 10.

“More children are living in poverty, facing movement restrictions, or displacement, which makes them increasingly vulnerable to child labor,” said Yutong Liu, the ILO Myanmar liaison officer.

The U.N. report Children in Armed Conflict stated that violence against children in Burma reached “extreme levels” in 2023. It documented 2,799 grave violations against 2,093 children, including 238 killings and 623 injuries, by the military and its allied militias. 

Number of IDPs surpasses three million

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Burma has surpassed three million, one-third of which are children. It added that 18.6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

In Arakan State, fighting between the Arakan Army and the military in northern Maungdaw and southern Thandwe townships has forced 185,000 residents to flee their homes. This number includes IDPs in southern Chinland’s Paletwa Township. The total number of IDPs in Arakan State is now over 350,000, according to the U.N. 

In Kachin State, there are an estimated 57,000 IDPs since January with the majority having fled their homes after the Kachin Independence Army launched its offensive against the military on March 7. U.N. Human Rights Chief Volker Turk has called for an immediate end to violence and for armed groups to protect civilians and allow humanitarian aid deliveries.

Research group monitors regime’s online crackdown since 2021

The Burma Affairs and Conflict Study (BACS) is a research group monitoring the regime’s attempts to ban Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and social media platform Facebook, which was blocked inside the country after the 2021 military coup. This led many Facebook users to download VPNs to circumvent the ban. 

“We’ve heard rumors that they’re drafting a law that could be used to arrest VPN users. They’re following China by banning Facebook and rolling out its own social media platform [MySpace Myanmar],” said Min Htet Aung, the spokesperson from Burma Affairs and Conflict Study group.

Residents in Mandalay reported that 10 checkpoints were set up across the city to check phones for VPNs on June 12. “A man in front of me was asked to pay 200,000 kyat [as a bribe to police] because he had VPN software on his phone,” said one resident. Netizens complained that Naypyidaw began to restrict VPNs on May 30. 

News by Region

Smoke rises from Madaya Township, where an arson attack occurred on June 12. (Credit: CJ)

MANDALAY—Two villages in Madaya Township were set ablaze as the Burma Army deployed troops to conduct clearance operations in the Mandalay Region on Wednesday. “The arson attack began [in the morning] and we could see the smoke [until] 12 pm. They’re targeting the villages for reasons we don’t understand,” said a Madaya resident. The number of troops in Mandalay and neighboring Pyin Oo Lwin Township has increased to prevent attacks by the People Defence Forces (PDF), according to residents. 

An explosion injured five employees at the Zwe Htet gold and jewelry shop in Chanayethasan Township on Wednesday. “The bomb went off when I was there to sell my earrings. A motorcycle parked in front of the shop was destroyed,” said a witness to the explosion. All branches of Zwe Htet gold shop were shut down following the blast. The regime issued arrest warrants for ten gold shop owners and merchants, including the owner of Zwe Htet, on June 2. It has accused them of manipulating gold prices. 

SHAN—The Ta’ang Land Education Council (TLEC) Director Mai Nai Hein Nyu told DVB that nearly 5,000 students are studying at 500 schools in 11 townships, which includes the seven towns controlled by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), this academic year.

“We have 2,300 Civil Disobedience Movement teachers so far, but we will accept more,” said Mai Nai Hein Nyu, referring to the CDM teachers who refuse to work under the military since the coup. She added that last year 28,000 students studied at 381 schools. 

ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) commander-in-chief Twan Mrat Naing expressed his condolences on social media for two women and two children who reportedly drowned after a boat they were in capsized near Maungdaw Township on June 7. Two motorboats were transporting injured regime soldiers and their families to a Burma Navy rescue ship.

“[The commanders] were taken first then the boats returned for us. But when the injured soldiers and their families, including children, were taken to that ship, it started firing [at us],” said a Burma Army soldier in a video shared online. Khaing Thukha, the AA spokesperson, added that this incident demonstrated how the Burma Army treats its own soldiers and their families. 

Listen: Weekly Briefing is our news bulletin available every Friday. Find DVB English News on Youtube Music, Spotify, Apple, Audible, Amazon or wherever you get your podcasts.

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