Ongoing Conflict in Kachin State
Attacks in Kachin state resumed five years ago.
* More than 100,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes.
* The Burmese Army has used rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.
* The government and military are restricting humanitarian aid to those forced to flee their homes. What aid is getting through isn’t nearly enough.
Take Action: Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Mr Charles Flanagan, T.D.
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade.
Dear Minister Flanagan,
I am writing to you about the thousands of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis at risk in the seas of South East Asia. While Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to give them temporary sanctuary, the situation is still grave and there have been an unknown number of deaths at sea. I urge you to ensure that this crisis is discussed at EU level. It is imperative that the EU apply pressure on ASEAN, particularly on Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to ensure a longer-term response to this refugee crisis.
Rohingya people are one of the most persecuted people in the world and are risking their lives on such perilous journeys in an attempt to flee the repression in their own country. In the longer term, the EU must take action to address the root cause of this crisis.
Dear UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, As you are well aware, at least 140,000 Rohingya people who were forced to flee their homes after horrific violence in June and October 2012 now live
in temporary camps where humanitarian access is severely restricted as a result of the policies of the Government of Myanmar and the failure of the government to ensure a secure environment for the delivery of aid. At least 80,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar by boat, facing an extremely precarious fate at sea because of the desperate situation they face in their own country.
According to sources, at least 70 per cent of Rohingyas currently have no access to safe water or sanitation services. In Maungdaw Township, there is just one doctor per 160,000 people. The World Health Organisation recommends one doctor per 5,000 people. Only two per cent of Rohingya women give birth in a hospital.
The humanitarian crisis is most acute in the camps for internally displaced peoples. In June 2014, the UN Assistant General-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Kyung-hwa Kang, said after visiting the camps: “I witnessed a level of human suffering in the IDP camps that I have personally never seen before ... appalling conditions .... wholly inadequate access to basic services including health, education, water and sanitation.”
Those words echo the words of the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Baroness Amos, who said after visiting the camps in December 2012:
“I have seen many camps during my time but the conditions in these camps rank among the worst. Unfortunately we as the United Nations are not able to get in and do the range of work we would like to do with those people, so the conditions are terrible ... It’s a dire situation and we have to do something about it.”
In October 2014, the spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Myanmar, Mr Pierre Peron, said of one particular camp, Nget Chaung: “No one should have to live in the conditions that we see in Nget Chaung”.
The current UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee has noted in her September 2014 report to the UN General Assembly: “disturbing reports of deaths in camps owing to lack of access to emergency medical assistance and owing to preventable, chronic or pregnancy-related conditions.”
While the crisis is most acute in the camps, it is important to note that around 800,000 Rohingya living outside the camps are also in urgent need of assistance. In some areas the rates of malnutrition are over 20 per cent and the provision of health services is almost non-existent.
It is essential also that humanitarian aid is not only provided to the Rohingya, but also to all those in need of assistance. Rakhine State is the second poorest state in Myanmar, where 44 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line – almost twenty per cent more than the average in most parts of Myanmar.
Aid organisations have faced severe restrictions, harassment and threats of expulsion from Rakhine State, and the delivery of aid has often been blocked as a result of local campaigns against international humanitarian organisations.
Mr Secretary-General, in 2008 following the appalling humanitarian crisis after Cyclone Nargis, the regime in Myanmar initially refused access to international aid organisations. You personally took charge of the effort by the international community to negotiate access, and you succeeded. As a result, hundreds of thousands of lives were saved. I believe the crisis in Rakhine State demands a similar response, and I therefore urge you to take a personal lead in negotiating with the Government of Myanmar for humanitarian access to all areas of Rakhine State, for humanitarian aid to be provided to all in need, regardless of race or religion. Hundreds of thousands of people who have little food, medicine or shelter and have been stripped not only of their citizenship but also their basic dignity are looking to you and to the United Nations for help.
I appeal to you not to fail them.
Yours, [Your name]
Reports: Arakan State
Refugees International highlights the chance that the international community has, in this time of dramatic change in Burma, to end discrimination against the Rohingya and to restore their citizenship.
Refugees International details how the current situation in Burma’s Arakan/Rakhine State offers an opportunity for Bangladesh to resolve the issue of stateless Rohingya in Burma and in neighbouring countries.
Human Rights Watch describes the initial events that triggered the deadly sectarian violence which erupted in Arakan State in June 2012 as well as the acts of violence that followed by both Arakan and Rohingya, and the role of state security forces in both failing to intervene to stop sectarian violence and directly participating in abuses.
The Arakan Project report provides an overview of forced labour practices in Arakan State over a 6-month period from November 2011 to May 2012.
In 2010, the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway found strong evidence that crimes against humanity are being committed against the Rohingyas of Northern Arakan State in Burma.