June 15 (UPI) — Myanmar’s ruling junta has systematically killed, tortured and detained children since seizing power in a February 2021 coup, a United Nations expert said in a new report that calls for an urgent, Ukraine-level response from the international community.
The military has killed at least 142 children in Myanmar and arbitrarily detained over 1,400, according to the report issued Tuesday by Tom Andrews, U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar.
Researchers also documented the torture of 142 children, including maiming, burning with cigarettes, pulling out fingernails and teeth and sexual assault.
“The relentless attacks on children underscore the depths of the military junta’s depravity and its willingness to inflict immense misery and hardship on innocent victims,” the report said. “Without a prompt return to the path of democracy and concerted remedial action, Myanmar’s children will become a lost generation.”
Andrews called for a dramatic increase in humanitarian assistance, as well as stronger targeted sanctions and coordinated financial investigations.
“For the sake of Myanmar’s children, member states, regional organizations, the Security Council, and other U.N. entities must respond to the crisis in Myanmar with the same urgency they have responded to the crisis in Ukraine,” Andrews said in a statement.
“The junta’s attacks on children constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes,” he added.
Attacks on civilian populations by the military, known as the Tatmadaw, have led to widespread internal displacement, with more than 250,000 children forced to flee their homes since the coup began, according to the report.
Some 7.8 million children also remain out of school.
A 9-year-old boy in the country’s eastern Kayah state told researchers he wanted to return to classes but was afraid after seeing and hearing military attacks.
“I don’t like bomb blasts and guns shooting at school because I’m scared that the school will be on fire and students will die,” he said.