Myanmar blocks UN agencies from delivering essential aid to civilians in Rakhine state: The Guardian
Staff from the world body’s aid agencies have not been allowed to provide food and water supplies to the troubled state for a week.
Myanmar has blocked all United Nations aid agencies from delivering supplies of food, water and medical aid to thousands of civilians fleeing violence in the Rakhine state, The Guardian reported on Monday. The UN halted distributions of essential supplies in the troubled northern part of the Rakhine state after the army responded to a militant attack on August 25 with an assault that reportedly killed hundreds of civilians.
Food, water and medicinal aid have been suspended because “the security situation and government field-visit restrictions [in Rakhine state] rendered us unable to distribute assistance,” the office of the UN resident coordinator in Myanmar said. “The UN is in close contact with authorities to ensure that humanitarian operations can resume as soon as possible.” Aid is being delivered to other parts of the Rakhine state, the office said.
The United Nations World Food Programme, however, said that aid to these other parts had also been stopped. It said that this had left around 2,50,000 people without access to food.
Staff from the UN refugee agency, the United Nations Population Fund, and the United Nations Children’s Fund have not carried out any relief work in northern Rakhine state for a week, the daily reported. Non-governmental organisations like Oxfam and Save the Children have also claimed that the government has restricted access to the troubled region.
The Myanmar military is accused of committing atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled their villages into neighbouring Bangladesh so far. More than 18,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh in the last week of August itself.
On September 2, non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch said that satellite images show hundreds of buildings on fire in Rakhine state. The NGO highlighted that new images from the Rohingya Muslim village of Chein Khar Li in Rathedaung town show 700 buildings ablaze. 99% of the village was destroyed in the fire, the NGO said. HRW has demanded that the Myanmar government allow independent investigators to determine the sources of the fires.
Myanmar treats Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not acknowledge their rights as an official ethnic group. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar. The country’s de-facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than 1 million stateless Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.