As of March 29, 2021, more than 40 of the 510 civilians documented as killed amid the political unrest in Myanmar, are children. At least 10 of the 114 killed during the annual Armed Forces Day on March 27 were minors. Almost 1000 children are estimated to have been arbitrarily detained to date.
Children continue to be hurt or killed by the very forces meant to protect them, within homes and communities, where they should be safe. The brutality and traumatising scenes unfolding in their lives will leave deep psychological, physical and emotional scars which a lifetime may not heal. The use of intimidation, force, tear gas, rubber bullets and firepower by security forces against children and civilians is unacceptable. It must stop now.
World Vision is deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing of children. The violence which they face is unacceptable. World Vision is present in the communities we serve and will continue to stand with children to ensure that they receive the best possible level of support, within a limited INGO operating framework. We are distributing food rations and basic necessities to meet survival needs within disrupted communities. We are also supporting livelihoods by providing families that are facing hardship with livestock, animal feed and vegetable seeds.
World Vision is witnessing a rise in cases of early marriage, sexual and physical violence against children who are at home and in households that are under financial, physical and mental strain from the current unrest, as well as the aftershocks of COVID-19. Protracted instability will lead to generational psychological and socio-economic harm. A year of school closures and business disruption due to COVID-19 are set to worsen existing and create new vulnerabilities, increase hardship and poverty across the nation.
World Vision stands with fellow signatories of an INGO joint declaration which makes clear our humanitarian position, and our “call-to-action” for all local and international leaders to take concrete and immediate measures to protect children during these challenging times. We urgently call for a peaceful resolution that respects international humanitarian law, so that the children and people in Myanmar have hope for the future and can live life to their fullest.
World Vision’s commitment to the children and people in Myanmar remains steadfast. We have been operating in Myanmar for almost 30 years, with programming in 12 out of 14 regions. Our work impacts the lives of 1.6 million people, including 475,660 children across the country. We facilitate long-term, sustainable development plans that are focused on building livelihoods, improving food security and access to health care and education.