Since seizing power from the elected civilian government on February 1, Myanmar’s military has killed at least 934 people and arrested more than 6,900, according to data collected by a local rights group.
Uncounted numbers have also died as a result of escalating armed conflict between the military and ethnic armed organisations as well as newly-formed civilian defence forces.
According to the UN Child Rights Committee, among those killed since the coup are at least 75 children. Some of them were shot on the street while others, including a six-year-old girl, were killed in their own homes.
The committee warned on July 16 that child rights in Myanmar were “facing an onslaught that risks leaving an entire generation damaged”, while its chair said that children in Myanmar are “under siege” and “facing a catastrophic loss of life” as a result of the coup.
About 1,000 children have been arbitrarily detained - some, including a five-year-old girl, taken as hostages when security forces were unable to arrest their parents.
Children have also been affected by major disruptions to schooling, health care, and access to safe drinking water and food. Al Jazeera spoke to family members of eight children killed since the military coup. Here are their accounts.
Date of death: May 24, 2021
Location: Momauk township, Kachin State
Family: His father is a carpenter, and his mother raises chickens and pigs at home.
How he was killed: Awng Di had walked to his aunt’s house on the outskirts of the village to tend to her chickens. Heavy artillery fire hit the chicken coop about 30 minutes after he arrived. He died before he could get to the nearest clinic.
Reflection from his mother: "Awng Di looked after his two younger siblings. He loved them very much. He liked to play football and chinlone with his friends. He loved music and dreamed of learning guitar and drums, but we couldn’t afford lessons for him. When our country gets freedom, I think he will look down from heaven and be happy. I want people to remember him at least on the anniversary of his death."
Date of death: May 20, 2021
Location: Tedim, Chin State
Family: He and his three siblings were raised by a single mother who is a daily wage worker.
How he was killed: Taang Lian Muan Sang was out to rent a ninja video with his friends from a nearby shop. He was killed after he picked up an object that was lying by the side of the road that turned out to be an improvised explosive device made out of a motorbike battery. The 11-year-old was rushed to the local hospital after the bomb exploded, but died shortly after.
Reflection from his mother: "He enjoyed hunting with slingshots in the forest. He was interested in guitar and piano, but I couldn't afford to buy them or send him for lessons. He took care of the house while I was out working. As a single mother of four children, I get very tired sometimes. He used to tell me: 'Mother, don't worry about your future. I will look after you.' I still hear his voice every day."
Date of death: May 27, 2021
Location: Loikaw township, Kayah State
Family: His parents are farmers.
How he was killed: Sunday Aye was playing in front of a friend's house. Some 50 soldiers approached and the children scattered as the soldiers opened fire, but Sunday Aye was hit. By the time the soldiers had left, the 14-year-old was dead.
Reflection from his parents: "If we told you everything we loved about Sunday Aye, we would never finish. He was the smartest one in the family. He wanted to be an engineer or pilot when he grew up. He told us that after he finished 10th grade, he would look after us so we wouldn't have to work. He was an innocent child who died too early. I don't want any of this to happen to any other children."
Date of death: March 22, 2021
Family: His parents are low-wage government workers.
How he was killed: About 300 soldiers arrived with two bulldozers at the low-cost government housing complex where Tun Tun Augn lived, according to local media outlet Myanmar Now, which reported that security forces opened fire, killing eight people. Before falling, he said, “Mum, I've been shot.” It was at least 10 minutes before his family could approach him because of the continuous shooting. He died before reaching hospital.
Reflection from his older sister: "He liked to listen to music and to take pictures. He always helped with housework. He especially loved his mother. Many people have given their lives for this revolution. He was just an innocent child."
Date of death: June 19, 2021
Location: Kengtung, Shan State
Family: Her father is a cargo loader, and she was an only child.
How she was killed: The toddler had diarrhoea, so her father took her on his motorbike to find treatment. A military-appointed administrator's convoy drove towards them and he swerved to avoid them but hit the administrator's car and Moe Thandar was flung from his arms. She died of her injuries shortly after reaching hospital. After the funeral, the police arrested her father, accusing him of drunk driving. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Reflection from her mother: "Moe Thandar was my only daughter and I loved everything about her. She was healthy and adorable."
Date of death: June 24, 2021
Location: Mindat, Chin State
Family: His parents are yam farmers.
How he was killed: Om Shal was killed instantly when he stepped on a landmine while out with a friend collecting drinking water from a nearby well. He was living in a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Mindat with his family after they fled their home in May as the military began attacking residential areas amid armed resistance from civilian defence forces.
Reflection from his father: "He loved creating toys out of wood, like cars and motorbikes. He wanted to be an engineer when he grew up, and open a car and motorbike workshop."
Date of death: March 14, 2021
Location: Hlaing Tharyar township, Yangon
Family: His father is a construction worker.
How he was killed: After Kyal Sin Hein was shot in the head during a protest, security forces loaded the child's body into a military truck, eyewitnesses told his parents. They never heard from the military about their son's death. Kyal Sin Hein was among 58 people killed between March 14 and 18 in Hlaing Tharyar on the outskirts of Yangon.
Reflection from his mother: "I want the names of all children who died to be remembered. It is hard knowing that my son will never come back. I feel nothing but sorrow and pain. He was our only hope. Only when there is peace in the country will the spirits of those who died be at peace."
Date of death: April 1, 2021
Location: Kalay township, Sagaing region
Family: His parents are road labourers, and he was an only child.
How he was killed: Nyi Naing Phyo was with his parents working on the construction of a road when the military began firing at civilian defence fighters. The road workers were forced to flee. Four of them, including Nyi Naing Phyo, ran towards a railway station seeking shelter, but the security forces fired indiscriminately, and Nyi Naing Phyo was hit twice. The 14-year-old died on the spot, but his parents had to wait until the soldiers had left before they could collect his body.
Reflection from his father: "He wanted to become a driver. He wasn't taking up arms; he was shot while escaping. As he was our only child, we cannot accept his death or find solace."
Alia Chughtai and Emily Fishbein
Nu Nu Lusan and Vahpual