Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 07:09 GMT

Education under Attack 2010 - Myanmar

Publisher UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
Publication Date 10 February 2010
Cite as UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Education under Attack 2010 - Myanmar, 10 February 2010, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict reports that the Myanmar Armed Forces have occupied educational facilities for military purposes, recruited teachers and students for forced labour, and planted landmines close to or on the paths to schools. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has reportedly set fire to schools as part of a policy of burning whole villages to prevent people from returning to them.563 Schools have also reportedly been shelled or destroyed using other methods by both state and non-state forces.564

Armed forces and proxies abduct children on their way to or from schools in rural areas, according to the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, and subject them to forced labour, rape and trafficking.565

Children as young as seven have been victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence, including gang rape, Burmese women's organizations have reported; they have also been abducted, ill-treated and tortured by Myanmar Armed Forces and NSOAGs. Girls have been attacked at school as well as at home, resulting in severe injury and, in some cases, death.566

The women's groups have collected more than 1,800 reported cases of rape by the Armed Forces against women and children in ethnic minority areas, including the Chin, Shan, Kayin (Karen), Kayah (Karenni), Mon, Rakhine (Arakan) and Kachin States, between 1995 and 2008; but the real number may be substantially higher, as survivors are afraid to speak out, fearing reprisals or stigmatization.567

Cases of abduction for forced child soldier recruitment have been reported across the country, according to Human Rights Watch.568 Myanmar's armed forces are reported to have been recruiting and using child soldiers for more than 20 years, and have been listed in four consecutive Reports of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict to the UN Security Council. In 2002, Human Rights Watch calculated, based on research samples, that there may be as many as 70,000 child soldiers in Myanmar, the highest number in any country.569 The Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 noted that thousands of children were still being recruited by the army and armed groups, and local NGOs have compiled evidence that recruitment is ongoing.570 It is not known what percentage of them is recruited at or on their way to or from school, but there is evidence that this occurs.

In early 2006, soldiers reportedly entered a village in Fallam Township, Chin State, and abducted 22 high school students, 15 of whom were aged 15 to 17. They were held at a recruitment centre for four months before escaping.571 In early 2007, in Kachin State, a 15-year-old girl was recruited on her way home from school in Myitkyina because her family had not met the quota for girl recruitment imposed by the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army.572

[Refworld note: The source report "Education under Attack 2010" was posted on the UNESCO website ( in pdf format, with country chapters run together. Original footnote numbers have been retained here.]

563 Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, No More Denial: Children Affected by Armed Conflict in Myanmar (Burma) (Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, May 2009).

564 Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB), Forgotten Future: Children Affected By Armed Conflict in Burma (November 2008), 73, 75.

565 Ibid., 58-60.

566 Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, No More Denial, 30.

567 Ibid., 30.

568 HRW, Sold to be Soldiers: The Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma, HRW report 19, no. 15(c) (New York: HRW, 2007).

569 HRW, "Burma: World's Highest Number of Child Soldiers," October 15, 2002.

570 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008, 240.

571 HREIB, Forgotten Future, 59.

572 UNSC, Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in Myanmar, S/2007/666 (November 16, 2007), para. 21.

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