Authorities are planning to take action against the head monks of the YGW Orphanage branch located in the Ayeyarwaddy Region’s Labutta Township for repeatedly abusing the children under their care, 7Day reports.
The orphanage — one of 17 across the nation that are opened by the charity organization Yellow Generation Wave — is headed by four monks and currently looks after over 100 young boys. While it is home to several orphans, it also serves as a school for the orphans as well as for children who do have parents but whose families cannot afford to pay for the children’s education.
However, rights groups and parents of some of the children who lived at the orphanage have recently begun accusing the monks of acts of physical abuse that bordered on torture.
Upon hearing the rumors, members of the Ayeyarwaddy Region’s Department of Social Welfare launched an investigation into the orphanage. Yesterday, Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye told 7Day that they were able to verify the accusations after visiting the place and talking to the children. He stated: “Our staff went and carefully investigated the Labutta case, and we can definitely confirm that children are being abused. We are now making preparations to file a case in accordance with the crimes that they [the monks] are guilty of committing.”
Kumudra reports that several boys ran away from the orphanage about three months ago. Last week, one of the head monks asked that anyone else who wanted to go home stand up; around 15 boys stood up. The monk then proceeded to beat each of the boys 29 times with a bamboo stick as punishment. Four children had to be hospitalized as a result of the beatings.
Police Chief Tin Maung Htay of the Labutta Police told 7Day that they have contributed towards the hospitalization costs, and have also offered to take on the role of legal guardian for the abused orphans and open a case on their behalf. However, because the case involves monks, officials state that the Ministry of Religious Affairs will also need to conduct an investigation and play a role in the pending lawsuit.