In the midst of ethnic cleansing, as the Burmese army “indiscriminately kills” Rohingya people, the government in Myanmar has reportedly blocked United Nations’ aid from reaching the northern Rakhine state.
The aid includes supplies of food, water, and medicines, amenities vital for people who have been attacked and rendered homeless by a counteroffensive from the military.
U.N. operations in the area were halted on Aug. 25, when suspected militants attacked the Burmese army, and the military retaliated through an attack that has killed hundreds so far.
The Office of the UNResident Coordinator in Myanmar cited “government field-visit restrictions” when explaining to The Guardian why U.N. could not carry out aid operations in northern Rakhine state. It also assured in its statement that it was in talks with the government to resolve the situation.
The U.N. World Food Program also had to suspend its operations, and leave a quarter of a million people famished.
The U.N. is not the only organization that has been barred from supplying aid to Rohingya Muslims. Oxfam and Save The Children have also complained that the government has restricted access to the area.
What’s worse, the de facto leader of the country, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is also not too eager to work with humanitarian aid organization in trying to reach out to the most marginalized in the country.
Just last week, her office accused aid workers of facilitating “terrorists”. Such claims not only make the job much harder for aid workers, who now have to worry for their lives, it also cleverly takes away the victimhood of those who have suffered at the hands of the state. Even now, as the Burmese army claims it has killed 400 people in what is being seen as a disproportionate response to militancy, it is insistent that the majority of those killed were terrorists.
Now, more than ever, Rohingya Muslims need aid from humanitarian organizations. Many lost their homes, kitchens, and food supplies when the army burned ten Rohingya-majority areas, and many others have sustained bullet wounds from the counteroffensive.
Rohingya Muslims are reportedly being “burned alive” and their children “beheaded.”
While international aid organizations have condemned the violence, Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai also asked “fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi” to stop the violence. Yousafzai also called on other countries, many of which have refused to accept Rohingya refugees, to provide them with “food, shelter and access to education”.
Thumbnail Credits : Reuters