Ban Ki-moon urged to act on humanitarian restrictions in Rakhine State

More than 500 Burma Campaign UK supporters have written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to personally lead efforts to persuade the government and military in Burma to lift all humanitarian aid restrictions in Rakhine State. The restrictions mainly target the ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority.

Since attacks on police border posts in Rakhine State on 9th October, the military and security forces have retaliated with a violent crackdown in areas where ethnic Rohingya live.  There are credible reports of arbitrary executions, dozens of rapes of Rohingya women, mass arrests, beatings, burning of villages, and forced relocation by the military and security forces.  All of these human rights abuses could meet the criteria of violations of international law.

Military and security forces have also imposed severe restrictions on access to these areas, including access for humanitarian aid.

The humanitarian situation in Rakhine State was already an unacceptable crisis even before these new restrictions were introduced. The NLD-led government had kept in place severe restrictions on humanitarian aid to the Rohingya, resulting in deaths and widespread unnecessary suffering.  It was the policy of previous governments in Burma to use a combination of impoverishment and human rights violations to try to drive ethnic Rohingya out of the country.

To date, the government and military have ignored requests from local UN bodies and other agencies for a return to the previous limited access that they had. Calls from UN human rights experts have also been ignored.

“This crisis requires the personal intervention and leadership of the UN Secretary General,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Burma Campaign UK supporters are calling upon him to act now. It is essential that not only are new restrictions lifted, but also that all the restrictions previously in place are also lifted.”

For more information contact:

Mark Farmaner on 07941239640.

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