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UN rights expert condemns Myanmar military assaults as child death toll rises
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UN rights expert condemns Myanmar military assaults as child death toll rises

UN Special Rapporteur Thomas Andrews implored Myanmar’s security forces Tuesday to immediately cease firing on villages in Rakhine State based on serious concerns about the rising death toll of children.

Andrews questioned whether the innocent children are “deliberately targeted” rather than “being caught in the crossfire of war.” Regardless of the security forces’ motive, Andrews called for the assaults to stop and stated that “the Secretary General’s call for a ceasefire must be heeded immediately.” Andrews emphasized that “impunity and human rights cannot coexist.” He referenced an ongoing assessment by the International Court of Justice of Myanmar’s conformity with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

In the report, Andrews recollected the video testimony revealed in early September of two Myanmar soldiers who confessed to the murder and rape of minority Rohingya Muslims. The UN Human Rights Council has been investigating Myanmar’s failure to prevent genocide in the country since 2019. Andrews encouraged Myanmar’s government “to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.” The International Criminal Court is also investigating persecution and violence occurring in Rakhine State.

Andrews noted other infringements on fundamental rights occurring in Myanmar. He cited “concerns that the government is imposing ‘vague and subjective criteria’ to restrict the freedom of expression for political candidates.” He further expressed concern about limitations on the right to vote based on race, ethnicity, or religion in Myanmar’s upcoming elections. He stated, “I have seen no evidence that the government is willing or prepared to facilitate the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of voting-age Rohingya located in Rakhine State.” Myanmar’s elections will occur on November 8 this year.