An international rights group has urged the government of Myanmar to lift restrictions on the flow of humanitarian aid to western Rakhine and northern Kachin states.

Amnesty International said in a statement Thursday that recent armed clashes and violence had worsened the humanitarian situation in Kachin and Rakhine.

Both areas are home to tens of thousands of people displaced by violence in recent years, among them the country’s stateless Rohingya Muslim population reside — described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world.

“Myanmar authorities must immediately lift restrictions that are preventing the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies from reaching people in need,” said the UK-based organization’s Southeast Asia and Pacific director Rafendi Djamin.

“The events of the past few weeks have aggravated that situation, and put more lives at risk,” he said, referring to the murder of nine police officers by armed assailants during attacks on border guard posts in Maungdaw and Yathay Taung townships.

An ensuing clampdown saw a further 34 people killed.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) approximately 87,000 people have been displaced in Kachin State since fighting resumed between government troops and Kachin rebels in June 2011.

In Thursday’s statement Amnesty accused the authorities of blocking UN and humanitarian agencies from delivering aid to displaced people in rebel-controlled areas in Kachin since April 2016.

“Civilians cannot be put in a position where they have no other option but to put their lives in harm’s way to access much needed aid,” Djamin said.

More than a week after the deadly attacks on the guard posts, media have claimed that the heavy security situation in Maungdaw is preventing UN and nongovernmental organizations from delivering aid.

The severe isolation of impoverished Rakhine and restrictions on independent journalists and monitors make it extremely difficult to assess the scale of the displacement, or verify reports coming out of the region, Amnesty underlined.

“Local sources are telling us that Rohingya villagers are unable to access medical care,” said Djamin.

“The Myanmar authorities must ensure that the human rights of these communities are respected.”

According to a media report Wednesday, displaced Rakhine ethnic people who have been sheltered in Maungdaw said they have not received any offer from UN agencies and NGO for humanitarian assistance.

A member of a community-based organization helping around 300 people sheltered in a monastery in Maungdaw has accused UN agencies and NGOs of ignoring the needs of Rakhine people.

“We, Rakhine people, are in trouble. But no UN agency or NGO wants to help us,” Aung Kyaw Min was quoted as saying by the Voice newspaper.

“We are not going to accept their help even if they offer it to us.”

A board appearing “We don’t need any support from UN and NGOs” was put at the entrance of the monastery, the report said.

Link: http://aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/myanmar-urged-to-lift-restrictions-on-aid-to-rakhine/669073