UN Denounces Lack of Humanitarian Access to Myanmar's Rakhine State

Kristopher Drake
October 7, 2017

IMO said it appealed this week to nations for 120 million dollars through March to provide desperately needed aid to the Rohingya refugees who have flooded into Cox's Bazar over the past six weeks.

"The Rohingya have faced decades of persecution and targeted violence in Myanmar, but the recent attacks that began just over a month ago are of an entirely new scale and level of inhumanity", Refugees International President Eric Schwartz.

The UN has described the government-sanctioned crackdown on Rohingya as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

There was widespread scepticism over whether any will be able to return and it remains unclear where the Rohingya would go if they did, since many of their villages have been burnt to the ground.

Speaking at a press conference near the United Nations office in Geneva, humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said the lack of access in Myanmar was "unacceptable".

"The thousands of potential new refugees are waiting to cross the border from Buthidaung, a township in Myanmar's restive Rakhine state, " he said, citing observers in the area.

Describing the violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state as "ethnic cleansing", Haque said the global community has been made aware of how the country was "snatching the rights" of the Rohingya.

Global aid groups fear tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who remain in northern parts of Rakhine are in urgent need of food, medicine and shelter after over a month of military operations.

"Many of those arriving in Cox's Bazar are malnourished, over 200,000 urgently need food aid, including 145,000 children, " the IOM said.

Mr Lowcock said the access given to humanitarian workers in northern Rakhine state, where the crisis is centred, is "unacceptable".

Myanmar has come under global criticism for barring aid groups, journalists and other outsiders from independently traveling to the region to see the situation there.

Lowcock said he believed "a high level" United Nations team would be able to visit the area "in the next few days".

But Bangladesh minister Mahmood Ali said there had been a repatriation offer in what he called "friendly" talks in Dhaka with the representative of Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The government is set to launch a massive vaccination campaign for the Rohingya refugees, to protect over half a million victims of forced exodus from onslaughts of cholera after administering their kids with polio vaccines, officials said on Wednesday.

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