The ICRC in Myanmar

from International Committee of the Red Cross
Published on 18 Feb 2013 View Original

18-02-2013 Overview

The ICRC works with the Myanmar Red Cross Society to provide basic but vital assistance to people affected by inter-communal violence in Rakhine State. Following a successful pilot visit in January 2013, the ICRC plans to expand its visits to places of detention.


Following the Myanmar government’s announcement regarding the resumption of ICRC visits to places of detention, the ICRC conducted a pilot visit, in full compliance with its standard working methods and procedures. The organization will now extend its visits to the other places of detention in the country, to help the authorities improve the treatment of detainees and conditions of detention.

The ICRC has helped renovate water and sanitation systems in three prisons since 2012. The organization expects to complete work at a further four prisons during 2013, and is ready to extend this type of work.


Physical rehabilitation for people who have lost a foot or a leg has been part of the ICRC’s work in Myanmar ever since the organization opened its delegation in 1986, with the production of artificial limbs being a high priority. After reaching agreement with the Ministry of Health, the ICRC has resumed support to three of the Ministry’s prosthesis production workshops. The ICRC is negotiating with the Ministry of Defence with a view to providing similar assistance to their establishments. The ICRC provides technical, material and financial support to the Myanmar Red Cross Society in the running of the Hpa-an Physical Rehabilitation Centre.

Promoting IHL

The ICRC sponsors the participation of government officials and academics in IHL events such as regional conferences and teaching sessions, and an IHL postgraduate course offered by the NALSAR Law University in Hyderabad, India. In 2012, working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ICRC held a workshop on IHL at Nay Pyi Taw for senior officials from the Parliament and six ministries.

Cooperation with the Myanmar Red Cross Society The ICRC helps the Myanmar Red Cross Society to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including conflict and violence, and helps to promote IHL and basic humanitarian principles. The organization is helping to develop the Myanmar Red Cross Society’s branches in sensitive border areas and trains Red Cross volunteers so that they can carry out their humanitarian tasks more safely.

The ICRC supports the Myanmar Red Cross Society in the running of the Hpa-an Physical Rehabilitation Centre, which produces an average of 800 prostheses a year. Together with the National Society, the ICRC runs an Outreach Prosthetic Programme, getting patients from remote areas to ICRC-supported prosthesis workshops. The programme covers eight regions and states, including Kachin and Kayin States.

Operations in Rakhine

The ICRC established a permanent presence in Rakhine State immediately after inter-communal violence broke out. Together with the Myanmar Red Cross Society, it provides basic but vital assistance to the sick, wounded and displaced of both communities. Both organizations support mobile clinics, evacuate patients who cannot get to health facilities and supply water in camps for displaced people. The ICRC has also renovated a referral hospital in Sittwe.

Following the resumption of violence in October 2012, the ICRC conducted assessment visits to newly affected townships to find out whether the inhabitants had sufficient access to health care, and the organization is considering extending its assistance in this domain.