Conflicts & War

UN calls for greater humanitarian access in Myanmar

Bangkok, Aug 18 (EFE).- The United Nations humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths on Friday called on the Myanmar Junta for greater humanitarian access to assist the 18 million people in need of aid across the country.

After a three-day visit to Myanmar, the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs said he met with Junta’s top leader, Min Aung Hlaing, and discussed the efficient delivery of aid to the people affected by both conflict and natural disasters.

“My meetings were an opportunity to raise the need for expanded access. It is critical for us to have the humanitarian space we need for safe, sustained aid deliveries around the country,” Griffiths said.

“I also expressed my concerns about the protection risks facing civilians in conflict areas and the bureaucratic constraints we humanitarians are facing in reaching them,” he added.

During the visit, Griffiths also interacted with families affected by conflict and natural disasters, including with Rakhine and Rohingya communities in the west of the country.

Following the 2021 military coup, Myanmar’s humanitarian requirements have surged, with the number of displaced people increasing fivefold, from 380,000 to 1.9 million in less than three years.

“Successive crises in Myanmar have left one-third of the population in need of humanitarian aid,” said the UN official.

Griffiths underlined that the humanitarian mission in Myanmar faced insufficient resources with just 22 percent of the annual required funds received so far this year.

“A severe lack of funding means aid agencies are forced to make tough decisions about cutting assistance at a time when they should be scaling up even further,” said the humanitarian chief.

Earlier this month, a UN report stated that the military junta was increasingly committing “war crimes” in the country including indiscriminate bombing of civilians, summary executions and burnings of civilians houses in some cases entire towns.

The report, which covered the period between July 2022 and June 2023, also documented instances of sexual abuses, including rape, perpetrated against women from the persecuted Rohingya minority.

The military coup led by the current junta leader has plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social and economic crisis and triggered a spiral of violence as new anti-junta militias have exacerbated the country’s enduring ethnic conflicts.

Between 2016 and 2017, the present military carried out a series of violent campaigns against the Rohingyas, leading to the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of this community.

However, the International Criminal Court is investing the crimes committed by the Myanmar military during those operations as possible crimes against humanity and genocide of the Rohingya minority. EFE

grc/bks/sc

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