Joint statement on humanitarian assistance in Rakhine State
International Federation for Human Rights
6 November 2012
This letter was signed jointly by Actions Birmanie-Belgium; Altsean; Asia-Pacific Solidarity Organization (APSOC); Association Suisse-Birmanie; Austrian Burma Center; Burma Action Ireland; 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; and Taiwan Free Burma Network (TFBN).
As organisations 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. (…)
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 organisations 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 criticise 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.
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