Statement on Attacks and Sabotages Against National Education Sector by NUG/CRPH and PDF who are Committing Violations of International Law
NAY PYI TAW February 14
1. NUG/CRPH and PDFs, declared as terrorist groups as per existing laws, on the course of utter devastation of the State to forcibly seize the State’s power, are recklessly attacking and sabotaging the education of the youths who are the future of the Nation. During a two year period starting form 1 February 2021 to 31 January 2023, the PDF terrorists under the instructions of NUG had committed 528 bomb attacks and 123 arson attacks to schools, Universities and colleges and also made 115 threats against education staff not to open schools. In the same period, the terrorists also brutally killed the teachers and education staff rising the death toll to 66 while 25 others were injured. According to the findings of ground inspections, besides destroying schools and killing teachers, the terrorists are found out to be ‘using schools for military purposes’ which is legally prohibited by the United Nations and certain international organizations.
2. The Resolution 2427 adopted by United Nations Security Council in 2008 reiterates its deep concern at the closure of schools and hospitals in situations of armed conflict as a result of attacks and threats of attacks and also urges all parties to armed conflict to refrain from actions that impede children’s access to education and to health services. Moreover, in the “Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use During Armed Conflict” released by Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack GCPEA, it is clearly stated that ‘functioning schools and universities should not be used by the fighting forces of parties to armed conflict in any way in support of the military effort’ and it further describes that ‘parties to armed conflict should neither use force nor offer incentives to education administrators’.
3. Nonetheless, on the pretext of antigovernment sentiment, NUG, CRPH and PDFs and insurgent groups are using schools as military bases after forcibly closing them. On 30 January 2023, it was found that KIA insurgents and PDF terrorist groups had built trenches and bunkers fortified with sandbags as a military base in the basic education high school located in Moetarlay Village in Katha Township of Sagaing Region with the intent to attack against the Tatmadaw military columns, and moreover, villagers of witness also revealed that KIA and PDF groups using arms always bully the unarmed locals and also deploy schools as military bases. Witness accounts of villagers were heard as follow:
“KIA and PDF made the school a bunker where as a military camp they sometimes are stationed. Their strength is between 50 and 100. In December, they came to our village and made the camp as a bunker. When they came to our village, they stayed at that school. I think they are using the school for children as cover. The villagers were forced to build the bunker in the school compound. We had to cook meals for them. Each house had to provide three meals. Sometimes they collected extortion money. Our villagers totally dislike KIA and PDF. As they come every month, the village cannot accept them at all.”
“They started using the school as cover in December. We had to arrange food such as rice and cooking oil for them. I don’t like the acts of such terrorist organizations at tall.”
4. Security personnel joining hands together with local villagers demolished the fortifications built by terrorists and also conducted cleanup activities in the village school. Moreover, in conformity with a phrase prescribed in the International Humanitarian Law urging the UN member States’ governments to effectively prevent and protect schools from being used by armed groups for military purposes, Government security personnel are taking all necessary security measures to protect the education sector from reckless destructions and sabotages of the terrorists.
5. In spite of the fact that NUG/CRPH and PDF terrorists violating the provisions of applicable International Law are harassing and attacking the education of the children using various means, some countries and organizations are found to be engaging with and supporting the NUG/PDF on media by ignoring their acts of terrorism. Such activities are threatening and destroying the safety and peace of innocent civilians’ lives.
Besides, it is required to heed that supporting the terrorists who are recklessly harassing and destroying the education of the children, the future of the Nation will surely cause unnecessary delays in the endeavours of Myanmar to return to the path of democracy.
6. Against the backdrop of the situation, the statement is released so that the international community can discern that KIA insurgents and NUG/CRPH and PDF terrorist groups are destroying the education of the children who are future of the country by using schools as covers and fortified bases.