UNICEF statement on the horrific killing of a school boy in Rakhine State, Myanmar
YANGON, 12 December 2019 – On 6 December, yet another child lost his precious life in a horrific manner. The nine-year-old student, who was reportedly still wearing his school uniform and fleeing his school with other students because they heard sounds of armed clashes, was struck by several bullets and died on the spot on the road in front of his school, Basic Education Primary School – Pike The, in Kyauktaw, Rakhine State. We are shocked and saddened at such tragic loss of a child’s life.
UNICEF is deeply concerned about the alarming increase of reports of killings and injuries of children, as a result of intensified fighting between the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army in the conflict-affected areas of Rakhine State.
UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure the full respect of the civilian character of schools, and to prevent any interference of armed actors with education infrastructures, personnel and students in line with national legal frameworks such as the Child Rights Law and the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement as well as obligations under international law. The presence of armed actors in or around schools increases the risk of schools being targeted and students and school personnel may be harmed, and school facilities damaged. It prevents children from accessing education, and associates schools with violent and traumatic events. We owe it to children to keep them safe at school and we urge all parties to the conflict, to exercise maximum restraint and to protect children at all times.
UNICEF further calls on the Government of Myanmar to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration and to adopt the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, into domestic policy and operational frameworks.
We call on the Government to join the other 101 countries that already endorsed the Declaration to express their commitment for the protection of students, teachers, and schools during military operations.