UN humanitarian chief says insecurity should not prevent humanitarian access in Kachin, Myanmar

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 06 Dec 2012

(Yangon/New York, 6 December 2012) The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, has called on the Government of Myanmar to work with the UN and its partners to increase efforts to address the humanitarian issues that are causing continued instability in the country.

“The last year has seen remarkable changes within Myanmar but humanitarian needs continue and in some areas have intensified. As the country moves ahead on its reform process it needs to address some critical humanitarian issues.” Ms Amos said. “This will save lives, assist in the restoration of peace and stability in parts of the country where conflict persists and will enable longer term development work to continue”.

ERC Amos is in Myanmar to assess the country’s humanitarian situation, including the impact of the ongoing conflict in Kachin and northern Shan states, which has forced some 75,000 people from their homes since fighting began in June 2011. She is also looking at the effects of the recent inter-communal violence in Rakhine State where more than 115,000 people are displaced and the community remains divided.

During a meeting with President Thein Sein, Ms Amos commended him on his recent pledge to enact a range of measures, including pursuing a durable ceasefire in Kachin and addressing issues such as citizenship, resettlement, and reconciliation in Rakhine State.

“United Nations organizations and our partners want to support the Government in tackling these issues. There are a number of areas where our interests for the well-being and welfare of the people of Myanmar connect,” said Ms Amos.

Earlier, Ms Amos visited Jan Mai Kawng camp outside Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, where some 700 IDPs are located. The camp is located within a Government-controlled area and it receives regular assistance from aid organizations. Ms Amos has grave concerns for the people displaced in other parts of the state where the UN has no access.

“The UN has not been allowed access to provide badly needed assistance to some 39,000 people in areas outside the Government’s control since July 2012. Local partners are providing food and other assistance but their stocks are depleted and with the winter months approaching getting more supplies in is critical,” she said.

Ms Amos raised Kachin with the President and her concern about the lack of humanitarian access in some Government controlled areas and in Kachin Independent Organization (KIO) controlled areas.

“We have substantial experience working in insecure environments. We are working in other places where the security situation is much worse. We hope the Government will give us permission to travel to these areas and provide the aid that is so desperately needed,” said Ms Amos.

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