Insecurity and growing violence in Myanmar, which resulted in significant forced displacement within the country and into neighbouring countries, also comes with increased crimes against humanity with ongoing conflicts severely affecting women and children.
The United Nations’ Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) outlined in its Annual Report, indicates that sexual and gender-based crimes, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and crimes against children have been perpetrated by members of the security forces and armed groups.
Meanwhile, Head of IIMM Nicholas Koumjian said that crimes against women and children are amongst the gravest international crimes. They are historically underreported and under-investigated, Koumjian added.
HUMANITY; SEXUAL AND GENDER BASED CRIME
Starting its operations three years ago, IIMM collected more than three million pieces of information from almost 200 sources. These include interview statements, documentation, videos, photographs, geospatial imagery and social media material.
The report points out that the ongoing conflicts in Myanmar severely impacted upon women, children and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community in Myanmar and exacerbated their already vulnerable situation.
Children are tortured, conscripted and arbitrarily detained, including as proxies for their parents, subjected to sexual and gender-based violence. The children are conscripted and trained by security forces and armed groups, the IIMM report said.
HUMANITY; WIDESPREAD’ VIOLATIONS
IIMM details about ample indications that since the military takeover in February 2021, crimes have been committed in the country on a scale and in a manner that constitutes a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population” and the nature of potential criminality is also expanding.
It said that this included the execution by Myanmar’s military of four people on July 25, 2022, carried out after the report was prepared. The IIMM pointed out that none of the trial proceedings were public and the judgements are not publicly accessible. “A fundamental attribute of a fair trial under international law is that it be held in public to the greatest extent possible, with exceptions tailored as narrowly as possible to the justification, such as national security considerations,” it said.
“Perpetrators of these crimes need to know that they cannot continue to act with impunity. We are collecting and preserving the evidence so that they will one day be held to account,” said Koumjian.
“Our team has dedicated expertise to ensure targeted outreach and investigations so that these crimes can ultimately be prosecuted,” said Koumjian.
The IIMM report states that progress on ending impunity and ensuring accountability for crimes committed remains limited for Rohingya.
“Most of the Rohingya who were deported or forcibly displaced at that time are still in camps for refugees or internally displaced persons. While the Rohingya consistently express their desire for a safe and dignified return, it is apparent that their voluntary return depends in substantial part on ensuring accountability for the atrocities committed against them, including through prosecutions of the individuals most responsible for those crimes,” the report said.
ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy Martha Newton said “What young people need most is well‑functioning labour markets with decent job opportunities for those already participating in the labour market, along with quality education and training opportunities for those yet to enter it.”
“Young people have been disproportionately affected by the economic and employment consequences of the pandemic and, as highlighted in this report, the pace of recovery of youth labour markets in many countries and regions is falling behind that of the labour market for older workers. The difficulties faced by young people have recently been compounded by conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere contributing to the emergence of additional challenges such as surging food and energy prices and less favourable financing conditions, particularly in developing countries,” said Martha Newton.