New York: The UN chief on Tuesday strongly condemned attacks by Government troops in Myanmar on a northern rebel stronghold which targeted a school, leaving at least 13 dead, including 11 children.
According to news reports, helicopter gunships together with troops under the command of the ruling Junta, opened fire last Friday on the temple school in Let Yet Kone, in the Sagaing Region of northern Myanmar.
The military reportedly said that it had launched the attack on insurgents which they claim were hiding in the school.
February 2021 coup
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrow of the democratically-elected Government in February 2021, which saw opposition violently repressed and an intensification of crimes against humanity and war crimes, the Human Rights Council heard earlier this month.
Opposition movements around the country, some armed, have increased their resistance to the military regime, countered by increased use of force by Government troops.
In a statement released by his Spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims of those killed at the school.
Schools must be protected
“Even in times of armed conflict, schools must remain areas in which children are granted protection and a safe place to learn”, he said. “Attacks on schools and hospitals in contravention of international humanitarian law also constitute one of the six grave violations against children, in times of armed conflict strongly condemned by the Security Council.”
Mr. Guterres reiterated that under international humanitarian law, “combatants must not direct attacks against civilians, including children, or civilian objects.
“Perpetrators of all international crimes committed in Myanmar must be held accountable”, the statement concluded.
On Monday, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, tweeted that at least 15 children from the same school, were also missing. “UNICEF calls for their immediate and safe release. Schools must be safe. Children must never be attacked.”
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