Global NGO Partners Relief & Development Condemns the Tatmadaw’s Violent Actions Against Children and Adults Across MyanmarApril 01, 2021
Partners Relief & Development staffers will be available for interviews to offer the latest perspectives about the evolving humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.
A few weeks ago in Mutraw District, Karen State, Myanmar, the students of Day Pu Noh Number One High School were running a community fundraiser and games day to raise funds for their Sustainable School. Partners Relief & Development has been supporting this Sustainable School with 663 students, 32 teachers, and 10 Parent Teachers Association members since June 2018.
On March 27th and 28th airstrikes dropped 9 bombs and fired automatic weapons on the village of Day Pu Noh, killing 3 villagers, wounding 7, and destroying many buildings. Mercifully, none of the students or teachers from the high school were killed. Along with 10,000 other Karen in Mutraw District displaced by these airstrikes, the students and teachers have fled their homes and school and are now hiding from the Myanmar Military in the forest.
As violent attacks by police and military forces have escalated against protesters in Myanmar since the coup in early February, attacks have also been increasing in its ethnic states. The same military that is using violence and intimidation to crush peaceful protests in the cities is also displacing children and their families in ethnic states with airstrikes and ground attacks.
In the mountainous northern region of Kachin State, our staff have informed us that Internally Displaced People are packing their belongings in anticipation of displacement from the Tatmadaw’s attacks. These are the same communities that have been internally displaced since 2011, and where Partners established the Kachin Community Support Network in 2012, which empowers displaced Kachin communities through Community and Child Care, Youth Empowerment, Women’s Income Generation, and Sustainable Livelihood.
In Rakhine State, where over 700,000 ethnic Rohingya were forcibly displaced by the Tatmadaw in a brutal 2017 crackdown, the military has quietly increased their presence with little notice from the international community. Partners supports healthcare, food distribution, and education in these communities. This month we continued food distributions to Rohingya communities in and around Sittwe. In 2020 we delivered more than 394,000 kg of rice to Rohingya in Rakhine State.
There has been a significant escalation in violence against civilians throughout Myanmar, with security forces killing more than 100 people on March 27th, including children. All this unfolds in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken more than 3,200 lives in Myanmar since the start of the pandemic.
Since 1994, Partners has worked with the Karen, Shan, Kachin, Rohingya and other ethnic such groups in Myanmar to ensure that war and oppression do not have the final say in their children’s futures. Partners is providing assistance now to displaced children and their families across Myanmar through our local staff and deeply trusted relief networks.
We have witnessed first-hand the atrocities committed by the Tatmadaw, especially against ethnic minority groups. The military’s use of violence and blatant disregard for human life is not new, but rather a return to the militarized oppression tactics of years gone by. For decades, Myanmar’s ethnic groups have been specifically targeted by the Tatmadaw with violence, oppression, use of rape as a weapon or war, and ethnic cleansing.
Over the years in Myanmar we have provided healthcare training, medicine, clinics, food, shelter, warm clothes, educational training and assistance, community building support, livelihood training, and much more to the ethnic groups oppressed by the Tatmadaw.
When atrocities and injustices occur, we believe it is not enough to offer condolences and watch helplessly. Our mission is to act on the imperative of love to protect, heal, and uplift these communities, especially children as they are the hope for the future. We accomplish this in partnership with local communities to empower and sustain development for generations.
As massive strikes, protests, and civil disobedience movements across the country continue, our focus remains on children and their communities who are innocent bystanders to the machinery of war and oppression. We condemn the military’s ruthless attacks, as the Tatmadaw has instigated violence, shot and killed protestors, and used tactical weaponry to destroy and terrorize ethnic communities.
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Partners Relief & Development (Partners) is a registered charity in five countries. The work of Partners has provided emergency relief and sustainable development for hundreds of thousands of displaced people in Myanmar/Burma since 1994 and in Syria and Iraq since 2016. In 2020, this included direct assistance to almost half a million people. Partners seeks free, full lives for children affected by conflict and oppression.