Myanmar: Humanitarian access in Kachin and northern Shan (March 2019)
In Kachin and northern Shan almost 47,000 people have been temporarily displaced by fighting in 21 Townships since January 2018, triple the number of people during 2017. Civilians have been displaced multiple times, increasing psychological trauma, especially for elderly people and disrupting children’s education. In addition to those who have been temporarily displaced, there are now over 106,000 people who have been living in 169 camps in Kachin and Shan since 2011, 36% of them in areas beyond Government control. The United Nations has not been permitted by the Government to deliver assistance to people in need in areas beyond Government control since June 2016. Since January 2018 there were 30 applications to access these areas, none were approved. National partners do not normally require travel authorisations and continue to have access to most areas, but their access is increasingly unpredictable and complicated by delays and cumbersome procedures. Access to people within Government controlled areas continues to decline and almost 20,000 people in remote areas cannot be effectively accessed as travel authorisations were not approved. Relative to people in main town areas, displaced people in remote areas suffer from a disproportional lack of quality food, nutrition, shelter, water, health and education.
A lack of sustained humanitarian access is preventing much needed improvements to living conditions. Effective humanitarian access has not been granted to 55% of displaced people as travel authorisations were not approved for non-Government controlled areas or approved with restrictions to main towns only in Government controlled areas. Water facilities and latrines continue to deteriorate, over 7,500 families need new or renovated shelters. In February 2019, restricted access prevented humanitarian agencies from delivering much needed warm winter clothing to children and other vulnerable people. A lack of humanitarian access is limiting humanitarian support to protect civilians in armed conflict, in 2018 there were over 25,000 recorded protection incidents.
The United Nations continues to call on the Government and all parties to respect their IHL obligations to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for all civilians in need.