Humanitarian access worsening in Myanmar: UN official

Humanitarian crisis affecting world’s largest group of stateless people, says Ursula Mueller
YANGON, Myanmar: A senior UN official on Sunday called on the government of Myanmar to grant humanitarian workers sustained and unfettered access to all people affected by conflicts in the country.
Ursula Mueller, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator, concluded her six-day mission to the country on Sunday. She visited several conflict-torn ethnic areas of Myanmar including western Rakhine state, northern Kachin state and northeastern Shan state.
“Humanitarian access in Myanmar has significantly worsened in the past year, not only in Rakhine but also in Kachin and Shan states,” said Mueller in a statement.
“When you cut that humanitarian lifeline, there is a very real human impact,” she said.
In Rakhine’s Maungdaw Township where a military operation forced nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee cross-border to neighboring Bangladesh, she witnessed areas where villages had been burned down or bulldozed, said the statement.
“There is a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border that is affecting the world’s largest group of stateless people,” she said.
She also visited a refugee return transit site that the government is constructing in Maungdaw.
In meeting with Rakhine regional government officials, she called for an end to movement restrictions and for practical measures to allow humanitarian workers sustained and unfettered access to all people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.–AA

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