UNICEF condemns air strike on schools in Myanmar

An IDP camp in Kayah State, eastern Myanmar, which is the region where the school was attacked. (file)
© UNOCHA/Siegfried Modola
An IDP camp in Kayah State, eastern Myanmar, which is the region where the school was attacked. (file)
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The children killed were boys between 12 and 14 years of age.

UNICEF strongly condemns any strikes against schools and places of learning, which must always be safe spaces for children,” Debora Comini, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement.

“Attacks against schools are a grave violation of children’s rights and international humanitarian law.”

According to media reports, over 100 children were present at the time of the attack. Those killed and injured were among many running to bunkers as military aircrafts dropped bombs and fired machine guns.

Over 90 per cent of the school was reportedly destroyed.

The school is in an area recently marked by intense clashes between military forces and armed groups opposing the junta, according to media reports.

Intensified conflicts

The strikes came as the military coup marked its third anniversary on 1 February amid a deepening humanitarian crisis that has left 18.6 million people across the country dependent on aid.

Since the military takeover in 2021, armed conflicts across Myanmar have intensified, including indiscriminate airstrikes resulting in numerous civilian casualties, mass killings of detainees, dismemberment, desecration of bodies, rape and the intentional burning of entire villages

The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to collect evidence of serious crimes, revealed that the pattern of such crimes pointed to an “organizational policy” of the junta.

“The evidence reveals a pattern that indicates that these are not isolated crimes, but rather a manifestation of an organizational policy implemented on a widespread and systematic basis by the military regime,” Nicholas Koumjian, head of IIMM said in a statement last week.

“No one has yet been held accountable for these crimes, which has deepened the culture of impunity in the country,” he added.

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