More action needed to prevent children being harmed in armed conflicts, pandemic

gnlm opinion

The current coronavirus pandemic is having an affect on children in conflict zones. Ensuring the protection of children is of utmost importance as the Union Government is providing health care and food aid to the people including children in conflict areas as part of efforts for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. It is worth noting that the Social Welfare Department of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and UNICEF will work together for raising public awareness about the Child Rights Law under the Multi-Year Work Plan (2020-2021) signed by the two bodies. At the same time, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement continues its aid to the people in conflict areas under the CERP plan to ensure that they can get good food and health care during the pandemic.
This commitment to provide aid to the civilians during the pandemic and conflicts is a positive step for the protection of children. Children were among the victims in armed clashes in our country. There is no excuse for violence against children. Myanmar has formed a committee in 2019 to prevent six grave violations against children in conflict areas. 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 for violations against children during armed conflicts.
The National-level project (2020-2021) on preventing six grave violations against children in conflicts was approved by the President on 10 August. A strong mobilization of regional governments, donors, civil society and private sector is needed to ensure that the project keeps children safe in any situation. Hence, the authorities concerned are to scale up efforts to pull children out of conflict-ridden circumstances and to prevent the current pandemic from making the issue more complex.
Meanwhile, all warring parties in Myanmar are obliged 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. Also, the government will take action for violations against children during armed conflicts, as determined by the Independent Commission of Enquiry-ICOE formed by the Office of the President.

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