Nay Pyi Taw: The Myanmar government here on Thursday signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) with eight out of the 15 ethnic armed groups involved in the peace deal, signalling an end to nearly six decades of civil conflict.
The signing at the Myanmar International Convention Center was witnessed by local and international observers.
Among the eight groups are Kayin National Union, Kayin National Liberation Army – Peace Council, All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, and Chin National Front, reported Xinhua.
The government side was represented by President U Thein Sein, Vice Presidents Sai Mauk Kham and U Nyan Tun, besides others.
International witnesses from the United Nations, the European Union, China, India, Thailand and Japan were present at the event.
A generation of Rohingya children in Myanmar and Bangladesh will be condemned to a perpetual life in limbo unless coordinated international action is taken to end the violence and discrimination against the Rohingya people, according to the UNICEF report Lives in Limbo.
More than half a million Rohingya refugee children are estimated to have fled to Bangladesh. The report by the U.N. children’s fund says that these children face multiple dangers, including the imminent threat of floods, landslides, and waterborne disease outbreaks during the upcoming monsoon and cyclone seasons, as well as the exploitation and early marriages that arise from living in congested, slumlike conditions.
However, the situation for the estimated 185,000 children who remain in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is considered even grimmer, according to Simon Ingram, author of the report.
He says families there reportedly are living isolated, fearful lives with minimal access to basic services.
“I think, if we are looking for an indicator of the situation on the ground, there is the fact that people are still continuing to come at the rate of something like 1,000 or more a week, crossing into Bangladesh,” Ingram said. “So, I think that that number itself speaks to the situation on the ground — the anxiety, the fear, the continued threat of violence and the hope of those people and those communities.”
UNICEF is urging the Myanmar government to end the violence, to lift restrictions on Rohingya freedom of movement in Rakhine state, to provide for their basic needs, and to grant unlimited access to humanitarian agencies.
UNICEF says the nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will not return to their homes in Myanmar without guarantees of safety. In the meantime, it says, education offers one of the best opportunities for Rohingya children to achieve a better future. (VOA)