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20 September, 2017 12:29:06 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 September, 2017 08:40:13 AM
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UN appears helpless as Myanmar refuses access to Rakhine

Funding urgently needed to support Rohingyas in Bangladesh
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT
UN appears helpless as Myanmar refuses access to Rakhine

The United Nations appears to be helpless as the Myanmar government, despite numerous calls from the international community, is not granting the global bodies access to areas in Rakhine state where ‘security operations’ are still on. “Turning to Myanmar and Bangladesh, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, despite continued advocacy efforts for unhindered humanitarian access, the UN and its partners are not being granted access by the Government to areas in Myanmar’s Rakhine State where there are still security operations ongoing,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, told a regular briefing on Monday at the UN headquarters in New York.

“As a result, the UN cannot independently verify reports of continued violations of human rights of people fleeing the area, as well as of the number of people who have been uprooted or are on the move,” he said.

“It is estimated that some 415,000 people have crossed into Bangladesh since 25 August. More than 170,000 people are reportedly not able to access primary health services.  Nearly 300,000 people, including 154,000 children under the age of five and nearly 55,000 pregnant women, require additional food assistance,” Dujarric said.

“Our point is that we do not have the access we need in Rakhine State. The numbers we're giving is for what is going on in Bangladesh,” he added. “Funding is urgently needed to support and scale up existing services, as well as to set up new services across different sites,” the spokesperson said. When asked about the amount needed, he said, “No, I can't (say).  It will be a large amount.  I don't have an estimate right now.”

To a question regarding the stance of the UN secretary-general, Dujarric said, “I think anyone who would have read or seen the Secretary General's statements on the situation in Myanmar over the last two weeks could only say that he's being vocal and being extremely vocal on the situation.”

“There is a time for diplomatic engagement. There's a time for speaking out more loudly.  There's a time for speaking out loudly and remaining engaged diplomatically.  The secretary general has a number of tools in his kit, and he uses them as he sees fit,” he said.

To a question, Dujarric said, “We, obviously, very much are looking forward to hearing what she (Aung San Suu Kyi) will have to say in the speech she's scheduled to deliver, I think it's about Tuesday in Myanmar, and I think late tonight here in New York. Responding to a query, he said, “Our humanitarian colleagues are scrambling, in the best possible sense of the term, to try to get as much aid there as quickly as possible.  I mean, the numbers that I keep reading are staggering.”

“We know that Bangladesh with the recent floods is also facing its own difficulties.  Our humanitarian colleagues are putting a plan together which will need substantial financial support from the international community and is working hand in hand with the authorities in Bangladesh to try to get as much support on site — water, food, social services,” said the spokesperson.

To another question, he said, “I think he (UN secretary-general) has made his position and his message very clearly and very publicly.  He told… he was speaking in an interview last week where he said he really thought this… the upcoming statement by Aung San Suu Kyi is almost the last chance to try to reverse the situation.  Obviously, he made a call to… for a halt of military and security operations.  It seems that… I wouldn't say that that call has been heeded.  We will, obviously, listen very closely to what she has to say.”

MK

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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