In January, the Working Group received the Secretary-General’s (SG) sixth report (S/2020/1243) on children and armed conflict (CAAC) in Myanmar, covering the period from September 1, 2018, to June 30, 2020. During this period, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 994 grave violations, against 974 children (845 boys, 123 girls, 6 unknown sex). Most documented violations (78 percent) took place in Rakhine State. Recruitment and use and killing and maiming of children were the predominant violations verified by the CTFMR, including alarming spikes since the end of 2019 due to intensified armed clashes between the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and non-State armed groups. During the reporting period, 587 children were verified as recruited and used by the Tatmadaw (583) and Border Guard Police (4), including 301 boys used in the first half of 2020 – far exceeding the 205 verified cases of recruitment and use by the Tatmadaw in 2019. In the SG’s 2020 report on CAAC, the Tatmadaw was removed from the annexed list of perpetrators for recruitment and use, “conditioned on the immediate ending and preventing of the ad hoc use of children in non-combat roles […] Any failure in this regard would result in a relisting for the same violation” in the SG’s next annual report. The CTFMR also verified 20 attacks on schools, hospitals, and their personnel, including 12 attributed to the Tatmadaw. Government Forces were found responsible for 71 incidents of military use of schools. The first quarter of 2020 saw a threefold increase in the number of verified child casualties as compared to the last quarter of 2019. The Working Group should:

  • Strongly condemn all grave violations against children, in particular continuing recruitment and use and killing and maiming, and call on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL);
  • Call for perpetrators of grave violations against children to be held accountable, including through timely, impartial, and transparent investigations, and where appropriate, prosecution;
  • Welcoming the signature of a joint UN action plan on ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children by the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army in November 2020, urge all listed parties who have not already done so to engage with the UN to develop, sign, and implement action plans to end and prevent grave violations;
  • Urge the Government to sign and implement a joint UN action plan to end and prevent killing and maiming and rape and other forms of sexual violence, violations for which the Tatmadaw remains listed;
  • Call on all parties to immediately cease attacks on schools and their personnel, and urge the Government to end all military use of schools and to ensure that attacks on schools and related protected personnel are investigated and that those responsible are duly prosecuted; encourage the Government to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration;
  • Call on the SG to re-list the Tatmadaw in the annexes of his 2021 annual report on CAAC for recruitment and use of children, and ensure continued engagement by his Special Representative on CAAC to end and prevent all recruitment and use of children, including in non-combat roles, and sustain gains made from the implementation of the 2012 action plan.

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