Aid workers under attack in Myanmar as Rohingya conflict worsens

The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region of Burma where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign, Amnesty International said.

“Rakhine state is on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster. Nothing can justify denying life-saving aid to desperate people. By blocking access for humanitarian organizations, Myanmar’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response.

Aid workers told Amnesty International of an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation in Rakhine state, where the military has been engaged in a large-scale operation since attacks on dozens of security posts on 25 August.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee from their homes since the violence began. According to latest UN estimates 90,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border into Bangladesh. Thousands of people – mostly Rohingya – are believed to be stranded in the mountains of northern Rakhine State, where the UN and international NGOs (INGOs) are unable to assess their needs or to provide shelter, food and protection.

Hate speech and death threats have been directed against international aid workers, further threatening humanitarian operations. The European Commission reported “intimidation of national INGO/U.N. staff, and looting of some INGO warehouses.”

[DeVex / Amnesty International]

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