Myanmar insurgency leads to arrest of 13 kids
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