The Myanmar Armed Forces, known as the Tatmadaw Kyi (‘Tatmadaw’), including integrated border guard forces, are listed for recruitment and use, killing and maiming, and rape and other forms of sexual violence in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) latest annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC). After being removed from the list for recruitment and use last year, despite continuing violations, the Tatmadaw was re-listed for this violation after a more than 350 percent increase in verified cases from 2019 (205) to 2020 (726). Following the February 1 military coup, the SG’s Special Representatives for CAAC and on Violence against Children, UNICEF, and others have expressed alarm at the number of children who have been killed, injured, or arbitrarily detained, as well as widespread attacks on schools, health facilities, and protected personnel. More than 200 organizations have called on the Security Council to impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar to help prevent further human rights violations. According to a statement by the UN Child Rights Committee, since the military coup, 75 children have been killed, about 1,000 arbitrarily detained, and countless more exposed to indiscriminate violence and deprived of essential medical care and education. Access to and delivery of humanitarian assistance remains heavily restricted – additionally concerning amidst a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The Security Council should:

  • Strongly condemn all ongoing grave violations of children’s rights in Myanmar, call for perpetrators to be held accountable, and demand that all parties uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL);
  • Call on the Tatmadaw to continue implementing the 2012 joint action plan on non-recruitment of children, to immediately end the recruitment and use of children including in non-combat roles, and urge all listed parties to sign and implement joint action plans with the UN to end and prevent grave violations, including the Tatmadaw for sexual violence and killing and maiming;
  • Urge the immediate release of all detained children, recalling that children should only be detained as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate time, per the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC);
  • Call for an immediate cessation of attacks on schools, health facilities, and protected personnel, and urge the Tatmadaw to end all military use of such facilities and to ensure that attacks on these institutions and related protected personnel are investigated and that perpetrators are duly prosecuted;
  • Reiterate calls for safe and unimpeded access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need, including children.

The United Kingdom is the lead country on Myanmar.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update: August 2021.


UN Action

Year listed: 2003
Action Plans signed: Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw Kyi) – recruitment and use of children (June 2012) *Delisted for recruitment and use in 2020, despite UN verification of continued cases, including at least 205 children recruited and used in 2019. Remains listed for killing and maiming and rape and other forms of sexual violence; 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: 2018; 2017; 201320092007
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Myanmar: 2019; 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.