Fri 29 Jun 2007
Filed under: International,News
Many of the difficulties faced by the people of Burma were due to â€œill-informed and outdatedâ€ socio-economic policies, neglected social services and the regime’s â€œuncompromising attitudeâ€ towards opposition and minorities, according to a confidential report by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Burma, Charles Petrie.
The report, a copy of which was obtained by The Irrawaddy, said: â€œMany of the difficulties encountered by the population of Myanmar [Burma] are a result of ill-informed and outdated socio-economic policies, lack of public expenditure on much needed social services, an uncompromising attitude not oÂnly towards the NLD/democracy movement, but moreover towards the ethnic and ceasefire groups.â€ The report, entitled â€œHumanitarian Situation,â€ was issued in April 2007.
In a phone interview with The Irrawaddy oÂn Friday, Petrie said: â€œThe government has insufficient understanding of what the UN and NGOs are trying to do. That is one of the reasons why I think there are all of these problems with the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross]. I don’t think the government really understands what the ICRC is trying to do.â€
The ICRC on Friday denounced the military government in a harshly worded statement. The report denounced â€œmajor and repeated violations of international humanitarian lawâ€ committed by the government.
The confidential report said more than 30 percent of Burma’s people lived well below the poverty line, and that Burma is the oÂnly country in the world where Beri Beri, a vitamin deficiency affliction, is one of the major causes of infant mortality.
The report said Burma’s accelerating impoverishment is leading to a wide range of social problems-the inability of more than 40 percent of children to complete their primary education; increasing arbitrary and widespread land confiscation, contributing to greater food insecurity; government policies of â€œdirectedâ€ agricultural production resulting in declining yields for small farmers, an estimated 10,000 girls trafficked from Burma to Thailand’s brothels alone every year.
One section of the report is devoted to a â€œUN strategy for Burma 2003-2007â€-a strategy â€œdesigned with the belief that the downward slide could still be checked.â€