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UN Human Rights Expert urged the Government of Myanmar to authorize access to affected areas by humanitarian actors

23 February 2007

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar is very concerned by the on-going military operations in Kayin State and its humanitarian and human rights implications. He received testimonies from villagers who recently fled from Toungoo District and Eastern Bago Division. These villagers, who had already been forcedly displaced at several occasions, provided information that verify allegations received by the Special Rapporteur during the year 2006 on the magnitude of the humanitarian and human rights situation in these areas.

As the result of the increase of military operations, the number of communities in needs, such as villagers facing food shortage, internally diplaced villagers and refugees significantly increased in 2006.

The Special Rapporteur noted the importance of providing these groups at risk with immediate humanitarian assistance. He reiterated that the humanitarian assistance should not be made hostage of politics. It must be only guided by the best interests of the affected communities. The Special Rapporteur believed it would be a terrible mistake to wait the
political normalization of Myanmar to help and to empower the affected communities and their representatives.

The Special Rapporteur urged the Government of Myanmar to authorize access to the affected areas by the United Nations and associated personel, as well as personel of humanitarian organizations and guarantee their safety, security and freedom of movement.

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