Wednesday, August 8, 2012

UN appeals to Bangladesh to allow aid groups to work

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:15 Mizzima News    

The UN has told Bangladesh that its decision to ban activities by three humanitarian aid groups with unregistered people from Burma’s Rakhine State will have a “serious humanitarian impact.”

On Thursday, three non-governmental organizations – Médecins Sans Frontières, Action Contre La Faim and Muslim Aid UK – were ordered by the Bangladeshi authorities to stop activities in and around unofficial camps near Cox's Bazar.

“If the order is implemented, it will have a serious humanitarian impact on some 40,000 unregistered people who had fled Myanmar in recent years and settled in the Leda and Kutupalong makeshift sites,” said United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Adrian Edwards.

“Local villagers nearby will also be affected as they, too, have been benefiting from basic services provided by the NGOs,” he told a news briefing.

UNHCR urged the government of Bangladesh to reconsider its decision in light of its long tradition of hospitality towards people who have fled Burma over the years. In addition to the unregistered population now in Bangladesh, there are some 30,000 registered refugees living in two official camps in Cox's Bazar.

Meanwhile in northern Rakhine State in Burma, UNHCR said it is watching developments closely following reports of renewed violence over the weekend.

The UN said it has received unverified accounts of some villages being burnt in Kyauk Taw Township north of the state capital, Sittwe. Many of the young men have reportedly fled, leaving mainly women and children behind, it said.

The UN and its humanitarian partners have drawn up a response plan to assist some 80,000 people who have been displaced or are otherwise affected in Rakhine State since inter-communal clashes broke out in early June.

UNHCR has so far distributed emergency aid to more than 40,000 people. It is also mobilizing its stocks in Cox's Bazar for delivery by boat across the Naf River to Rakhine State once permission is in place, it said.

On Tuesday, Mizzima reported that violence erupted again in Burma’s Rakine State in renewed clashes on Sunday that left three people dead.

The dead lived in Kyauktaw about 60 miles north of the state capital Sittwe, an official who did not want to be named told Agency France Presse. Five people were reported wounded. There were no other details of how the deaths occurred.

“The situation is calm and back to normal already,” the official told AFP. “We do not know why it started again.”

The UN and international governments have called for Burma to conduct an independent investigation into the unrest.

Official figures say 80 people have now died in clashes in Rakhine State since June.

Leave a Reply