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Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar (S/2017/1099)

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The present report, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) and subsequent resolutions, covers the period from 1 February 2013 to 30 June 2017 and is the fourth report on children and armed conflict in Myanmar to be submitted to the Security Council and its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The report provides information on grave violations against children in Myanmar and identifies parties to the conflict responsible for such violations.

During the reporting period, armed clashes in conflict-affected areas of the country continued to put children at risk and the country task force on monitoring and reporting documented and verified grave violations against children by the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and other parties to the conflict, including all seven armed groups listed in the annual report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict. Grave violations against children increased in some areas owing to military operations and intensified clashes in several areas of the country, notably in Shan, Kachin and Rakhine States.

Following the signing of a Joint Action Plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by the Tatmadaw between the Government of Myanmar and the United Nations in June 2012, more than 849 children were released from the ranks of the Myanmar Armed Forces. Progress towards the implementation of the Joint Action Plan resulted in an annual decrease in the number of verified child recruitment cases.

The country task force verified that 153 children had been recruited in 2013, 47 in 2014, 22 in 2015 and 3 in 2016. While this reflects a discernable pattern of decrease, it is important to note that, owing to lengthy verification processes, cases of recruitment may manifest themselves in later years. The reporting period indicated progressive engagement by the Government of Myanmar on the Joint Action Plan.
Remaining gaps, particularly with regard to accountability measures and the sp eed of case verification, should be addressed within the shortest possible amount of time.
During the reporting period, the country task force also engaged with all listed armed groups with a view to ending and preventing grave violations against children.

Five of the listed groups showed interest in engaging with the United Nations on child protection. However, protracted conflicts and recent clashes, particularly in border areas and non-Government-controlled areas, represented a particular challenge in terms of advancing child protection, and frequent incidents of child recruitment and use, the killing and maiming of children or the abduction of children were verified by the country task force. In line with resolution 1612 (2005) and subsequent resolutions, increased engagement should be sought with the support of the Government of Myanmar, most urgently with those parties engaged in the Government-led peace process.

In the present report, it is noted that the country task force and its partners remained constrained by access and security impediments that presented a challenge to effective monitoring, verification and reporting of grave violations against children by listed parties in Myanmar. The report contains a series of recommendations addressed to all parties aimed at better protecting children affected by armed conflict in Myanmar.