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Joint Statement on Humanitarian Assistance in Rakhine State, Burma

As organizations that work to promote the rights of all people of Burma, including the Rohingya community, we express our deep concerns about the shortfall in funding for the humanitarian operation to assist people in Rakhine State who have been affected – directly or indirectly – by the June and post-June violence. Out of $32.5 million requested, donors have disbursed or pledged only $14.9 million to the Rakhine Response Plan, and $4.8 million of that came from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund. The conditions in the Rohingya displacement camps are unacceptable, which is a direct manifestation of the funding gap. There is severe overcrowding, above emergency levels of child malnutrition, totally inadequate water and sanitation, and almost no education available in the camps.

Given the current situation of segregation of the Rohingya community outside of the town in Sittwe, we understand that many agencies are hesitant to provide assistance to these camps because of a fear of being accused of colluding with the government’s segregationist policies. We appreciate the dilemma that this situation presents to donor governments and to humanitarian agencies, but we take the view that there is a humanitarian imperative to provide assistance without further delays. Anything that can be done to ameliorate the conditions in the Rohingya displacement camps must be done as a matter of urgency.

As organizations concerned with the rights of the Rohingya community, we make this call to donors and humanitarian agencies to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs in Rakhine State. We want to be clear that we consider this to be a priority and that we will not criticize donors and humanitarian agencies for funding or engaging in humanitarian work to improve the conditions in the camps despite the concerns about segregation.

However we also call on all donors to engage in robust advocacy demanding an end to segregation and requiring the government to produce a “road map” setting out its plans for reconciliation measures and returns, rebuilding of homes, and reintegration in Sittwe.

Signed:

Actions Birmanie-Belgium

Altsean

Asia-Pacific Solidarity Organization (APSOC)

Association Suisse-Birmanie

Austrian Burma Center

Burma Action Ireland

Burma Campaign Australia

Burma Campaign UK

BurmaInfo (Japan)

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)

Free Burma Coalition-Philippines (FBC-P)

Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART)

Info Birmanie (France)

Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)

Institute for Asian Democracy

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Observatory on Statelessness

Norwegian Burma Committee

Odhikar

People's Forum on Burma (Japan)

Refugees International

Restless Beings

Society for Threatened Peoples

Swedish Burma Committee

Taiwan Free Burma Network (TFBN)