Thu 30 Nov 2006
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Myanmar’s police chief has denied the junta had ordered the International Committee of the Red Cross to “close” its offices in the country, saying it merely asked that the ICRC offices temporarily “suspend their activities.” “It is not true that we had issued the order to close their offices,” Police Chief Brig. Gen. Khin Yi told reporters Wednesday in Myanmar’s new administrative capital Naypyitaw.
He said the junta “asked them to suspend their activities for the time being” pending the announcement of new rules and regulations to be followed by foreign organizations in the country.
The ICRC said Monday in a statement that it “utterly deplores” the Myanmar junta’s order for it to close its field offices in Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Hpa-an, Taunggyi and Kyaing Tong.
The five field offices provide humanitarian assistance to thousands of people in sensitive border areas, support prisoners and their families, and carry out rehabilitation work with land mine victims.
The ICRC lamented that the junta’s move makes it “impossible for the organization to carry out most of its assistance and protection work benefiting civilians who live in difficult conditions in border areas.
“The statement said Myanmar authorities also announced that ICRC visits to detainees, which were halted in December 2005, would not be allowed to resume.
Due to restrictions placed on it by the junta, the ICRC said, its activities in Myanmar in recent months have had to be scaled down, limited to a few projects in the field of physical rehabilitation for amputees.