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Dhaka Tribune

Myanmar junta slammed for deaths of 44 children

According to Save the Children, the death toll of youngsters had more than doubled in the past 12 days

Update : 02 Apr 2021, 02:34 PM

Myanmar's junta faced fresh international criticism on Friday over the deaths of more than 40 children and the "forced disappearance" of hundreds of people in its crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

The military's ruthless suppression of demonstrations against its February 1 power grab has left 543 civilians dead, including 44 children, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local monitoring organization.

As well as breaking up protests with tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds, security forces have detained some 2,700 people.

Violence has ramped up in recent weeks, with Save the Children saying the death toll of youngsters had more than doubled in the past 12 days.

"We are shocked that children continue to be among the targets of these fatal attacks, despite repeated calls to protect children from harm," the charity said in a statement.

"It is especially horrifying that several of these children were reportedly killed at home, where they should have been safe from harm."

The authorities have made numerous arrests during night raids on the homes of people suspected of supporting the rallies or the civil disobedience movement that has sprung up aimed at stopping the military from running the country.

Human Rights Watch said the junta had "forcibly disappeared" hundreds of people, refusing to confirm their location or allow access to lawyers.

"The military junta's widespread use of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances appears designed to strike fear in the hearts of anti-coup protesters," said HRW's Asia director Brad Adams.

"Concerned governments should demand the release of everyone disappeared and impose targeted economic sanctions against junta leaders to finally hold this abusive military to account."

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