Myan­mar in­sur­gency leads to ar­rest of 13 kids

Saturday Star - - WORLD -

MYAN­MAR: Chil­dren as young as 10 are among hun­dreds of Ro­hingya Mus­lims de­tained on charges of con­sort­ing with in­sur­gents, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice doc­u­ment that sheds new light on Myan­mar’s se­cu­rity cam­paign in the coun­try’s north­west.

Thir­teen ju­ve­niles are among more than 400 peo­ple ar­rested since Oc­to­ber 9, when in­sur­gents at­tacked three po­lice bor­der posts in north­ern Rakhine State near the fron­tier with Bangladesh, the March 7 dated doc­u­ment shows.

Po­lice said some of the chil- dren had con­fessed to work­ing with in­sur­gents and that they were be­ing de­tained away from adult sus­pects.

A gover nment spokesper­son con­firmed that chil­dren had been de­tained, but said author­i­ties had fol­lowed the law. He knew of only five ju­ve­niles be­ing held.

Myan­mar’s leader, No­bel lau­re­ate Aung San Suu Kyi, who took power al­most a year ago, is un­der in­ter na­tional pres­sure over al­leged abuses in­clud­ing killings, gang rapes and mass de­ten­tions against the state­less Ro­hingya, about 1.1 mil­lion of who are pre­vented from trav­el­ling freely and ac­cess­ing ba­sic ser­vices.

The gov­ern­ment has re­leased few de­tails about the hun­dreds de­tained in the Rakhine op­er­a­tion or the charges they face.

The doc­u­ment lists 423 peo­ple held un­der the colo­nial-era Un­law­ful As­so­ci­a­tions Act. All ap­pear from their names to be male. The youngest is 10 and the old­est 75. One has been crossed out and marked “dead”.

Two po­lice cap­tains in Maung­daw, the district at the cen­tre of the vi­o­lence, con­firmed the ve­rac­ity of the 11page doc­u­ment.

Myan­mar has rat­i­fied in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions that re­quire ad­di­tional pro­tec­tions for chil­dren ac­cused of crimes. Whether all those pro­vi­sions, such if they have been able to com­mu­ni­cate with their fam­i­lies or have le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, were be­ing fol­lowed could not be as­cer­tained.

All 13 ju­ve­niles be­low the age of 18 were de­tained out­side of prison at a Bor­der Guard Po­lice fa­cil­ity in the town of Buthi­daung and were not shack­led, said a po­lice cap­tain, who did not want to be named.

“Some of the chil­dren al­ready con­fessed they are in­volved with the at­tack­ers group dur­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion,” he said. They were not beaten dur­ing ques­tion­ing.

Cases had been opened against all 423 peo­ple on the list un­der the Un­law­ful As­so­ci­a­tions Act, said the po­lice cap­tain. Many on the list, which is not a com­plete record of all those de­tained in the op­er­a­tion, were also charged with ad­di­tional crimes, in­clud­ing mur­der, he said. – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.