More than 80 ethnic-Chin people have been killed in Myanmar since the February military coup, according to the Institute of Chin Affairs (ICA).
The ICA reported that, as of 3 July, 81 people had been killed by the military – also known as the Tatmadaw – including ten children.
The Chin population of Myanmar is thought to be at least 90% Christian. The Tatmadaw has for many years persecuted the Christian-majority Chin, Kachin, and Karen ethnic groups as well as the Muslim-majority Rohingya.
Among those killed were two babies, one a month old and the other six days old, who died during a Tatmadaw offensive in Chin State in June and May respectively. Also in May a ten-year-old boy was killed by a roadside explosion in Tedim township.
Another young victim of the ongoing violence was Mary, a 15-year-old girl from Kalay township, who in May was raped by a soldier before being killed.
One resident of Chin State told reporters that the deaths of young people were particularly distressing. “They should be going to school at this age,” he said. “Some might have got college degrees, while others would have found good jobs.
“Our young people increasingly have the chance to access a good education. But now, many youths are dead as a result of the coup.”
In a statement the ICA urged the Tatmadaw “to immediately stop killing innocent people, particularly women and children, and to refrain from indiscriminate bombings and heavy explosive weapons against the civilian population.”
The organisation added that it was “gravely concerned about the high numbers of ethnic Chin civilians being killed” in the ongoing violence, calling for “international action” to be taken against the military government.
In June around 5,000 Chin people who had already been forced out of their homes were forced to flee an artillery bombardment against camps for internally displaced persons. The Tatmadaw were also blocking humanitarian aid to the already impoverished and underdeveloped state.