Home Equality & Justice Pope Francis decries bombing of school in Myanmar

Pope Francis decries bombing of school in Myanmar

“This week I heard the cry of grief at the death of children in a bombed school,” said the pope in his message during Angelus

Pope Francis on Sunday, September 25, decried the continuing violence in Myanmar that killed several children following the bombing of a school in the past week.

“This week I heard the cry of grief at the death of children in a bombed school,” said the pope in his message during Angelus.

“We see that in today’s world there is a trend for bombing schools,” he added. “May the cry of these little ones not go unheard! These tragedies must not happen!”

In particular, the pope mentioned Myanmar where for “more than two years that noble country has been martyred by serious armed clashes and violence, which have caused many victims and displaced persons.”

At least 11 schoolchildren died in an air strike and firing on a Myanmar village in the past week, according to the United Nations children’s agency.

The Southeast Asian country has been in chaos since the military seized power in a coup in February last year, with nearly 2,300 civilians killed in a crackdown on dissent according to a local monitoring group.

The Myanmar Institute for Strategic and Policy Studies (ISP-Myanmar) said 2,930,201 internally displaced persons (IDPs), or slightly more than 5% of Myanmar’s population of 54.4 million, have fled violence in the country.

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It said 1,413,811 of them, or 48%, fled Myanmar amid the conflict that followed the Feb. 1, 2021, putsch.

According to ISP-Myanmar, the number of people in Myanmar who were classified as IDPs due to civil war more than doubled to 1,019,190 after the coup from 497,200 prior to the takeover.

The research group said its list was compiled from data obtained by organizations that assist refugees in conflict zones, international aid groups, ethnic armed groups, and reporting by independent media. It said the data had been checked and confirmed by its researchers.

ISP-Myanmar senior research officer Kyaw Htet Aung told RFA Burmese that all combatants in Myanmar must adopt measures to reduce civilian suffering.

“IDPs do not have full access to humanitarian aid at present and their number is rising month by month,” he said.

“How are we going to solve the problem? All the adversaries must pay more attention to military codes of conduct to minimize harm to civilians. If they can do that, I think civilian suffering would be substantially reduced. Additionally, IDPs must have better access to international aid.”

According to ISP-Myanmar, 533,833 people displaced by violence since the coup are from Sagaing region, where the military has encountered some of the fiercest resistance to its rule over the past 19 months.

Aid workers told RFA that fighting between the military and the armed opposition is intensifying and spreading rapidly throughout Myanmar, resulting in a substantial increase in the number of IDPs and civilian casualties. – with a report from Radio Free Asia

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