In December 2017, the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict received the Secretary-General’s (SG’s) fourth report on the situation of children and armed conflict in Myanmar. Covering the period from February 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017, the report did not include information on the violence in Rakhine State in the latter half of 2017 and its impact on children, and the Working Group requested an updated version, which is reportedly expected in October. In the SG’s 2018 annual report on children and armed conflict, eight parties, including Government forces (Tatmadaw), are listed for the recruitment and use of children; additionally, the Tatmadaw is listed for killing and maiming and rape and other forms of sexual violence against children.

In September the UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC’s) Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Myanmar released a report on its 15-month examination of the situation in Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine States, documenting grave violations against children by the Tatmadaw. The FFM has called for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s Commander-In-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and other top military leaders for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. In September, the HRC extended the mandate of the FFM and also established a new independent mechanism to address crimes and violations committed in Myanmar. The chair of the FFM is expected to brief the General Assembly’s Third Committee in mid-October and possibly the UNSC.

In its conclusions, the Working Group should:

  • Condemn in the strongest terms grave violations of children’s rights committed in Myanmar, urging all parties to conflict to respect their obligations under international law and put in place measures to immediately cease and prevent all future violations;
  • Call upon all parties to grant the UN’s Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) full access to relevant areas for the purposes of monitoring and reporting and dialogue with all relevant parties to end and prevent grave violations;
  • Urge all parties to allow safe, unhindered humanitarian access to children and all civilians in need;
  • Urge the Government to accelerate the verification and release of children and ensure accountability for those who recruit children; furthermore, constructively engage with the UN to develop and sign action plans to end and prevent killing and maiming and sexual violence against children;
  • Strongly encourage all parties in the context of peace negotiations to make concrete commitments on child protection, including active engagement with the CTFMR to address and prevent grave violations;
  • Recommend that the Council president request that the FFM report become an official UNSC document; further request that the FFM chair brief the Working Group;
  • Urge the UNSC to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update: October 2018.


UN Action

Year listed: 2003
Action Plans signed: Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw Kyi) – recruitment and use of children (June 2012); Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and Karenni Army (KA) have sought to conclude an action plan but the United Nations has been prevented from doing so by the Government of Myanmar.
Sanctions Committee: No
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Myanmar: 2017; 201320092007
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Myanmar: 2013; 20092008

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Tatmadaw Kyi (government army) (including integrated border guard forces from 2011 onward)~* a a a a,b,f a,f a a a a a a a a
Karen National Union (KNU) (merged with KNLA in 2012) a a
Karenni National Liberation Army (KNLA) (merged with KNU in 2012)* a a a a a a a a a a a a a
Karenni Army (KA) (merged with Karenni National Progressive Party in 2012)* a a a a a a a a a a a a
United Wa State Army (UWSA)* a a a a a a a a a a a
Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA)* a a a a a a a a a a
Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council* a a a a a a a a a
Kachin Independence Army (KIA)* a a a a a a a a a a
Karenni National People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF) a a a
Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army a a a
Shan State Army-South (SSA-S)* a a a a a a a a a a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.